During the two-day seminar, various aspects of UNESCO Global Geoparks programme were discussed and presentations were made on preservation of geological heritage, tourism potential, local communities’ role in promoting nature-based tourism, natural hazards and climate change effect to local communities and other. Examples of existing UNESCO Global Geoparks in Yangan-Tau (Russia) and Kula-Salihli Geopark (Turkey) were presented and discussed.
During the field trip, the participants visited various sites of significant geological, cultural and historical value, got acquainted with local carpet weaving techniques, as well as witnessed the effects of natural hazards in the region.
As the result of the meeting, an agreement on cooperation was signed between participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Turkey, to promote networking and cooperation between existing UNESCO Global Geoparks, aspiring UNSECO Global Geoparks and geopark projects in Central Asia. Moreover, the government of Batken region supported the necessary works towards the establishment of a geopark.
"The Batken region, with its colorful landscapes, geological diversity, history, culture and natural resources, has a great potential to establish a geopark, for nature preservation local communities’ development purposes. The geopark will make it possible to preserve the heritage and promote sustainable local development, including through geo-tourism."
- Kristine Tovmasyan, Lead, Natural Sciences Unit Programme Specialist, UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. UNESCO office in Almaty supports Central Asian countries with their geopark projects. The event was funded by the regular programme funds, as well as GLOFCA project in relation to natural hazards and DRR sessions. Central Asia region has no UNESCO Global Geoparks yet, so the event in Batken served as a good momentum for promotion of the programme at regional level.