22 October 2020
On 25 September 2020, a consultative meeting was held between the UNESCO Office in Almaty and representatives of state committees of Uzbekistan for geology, ecology and tourism, as well as academia and regional administration, on the establishment of an aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark in Uzbekistan.The meeting was attended by representatives of the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Geology and Mineral Resources, the Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, the Committee for Tourism Development, Kitab Geological National Park, Kashkardaya region’s administration, the Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, as well as the Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources.
The meeting took place at the occasion of the release of a decree by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the establishment of the Kitab Geological National Park, created at the basis of the Kitab State Geological Reserve. The decree includes a roadmap of activities, which was proposed following a national workshop on UNESCO Global Geoparks, that took place in Tashkent in November 2019, supported by UNESCO Office in Almaty.
The participants discussed the recommendations made by UNESCO in November last year, the Uzbek authorities briefed on the progress achieved and discussed the next steps on geopark establishment, which will be primarily the identification of its territory, establishment of an inter-sectorial working group, involvement of local administration, assessment of geological heritage, mapping of geo-sites and other.
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 Global Geoparks aim to stimulate the creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and researches as new sources of revenue are generated through geotourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected. During the past year, the programme has attracted an interest of Central Asian stakeholders, including for tourism development purposes.