The Sarawak government is committed to elevating the Sarawak Delta Geopark (SDGp) as a UNESCO Global Geopark after its certification this June.
Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the geopark was expected to be certified after it had gone through an evaluation process following its recognition as a national geopark on Jan 19 to 21.
He said initiatives to preserve state treasures such as flora, fauna, geology, customs and culture were the Sarawak government’s priority.
“Therefore, with the achievement of this recognition, the geopark will be a new brand that benefits from the aspects of environmentally friendly global publicity, geo-tourism promotion, increased infrastructure and socio-economic development as well as employment opportunities for the local community,” he said in his ministerial winding-up session yesterday (May 26).
He said the state was also in the process of obtaining recognition for the Niah National Park as a UNESCO world heritage site.
On the SDGp, he explained that the government has approved its establishment with an area of 311,246 hectares, covering land and water areas that represent the special geological, biological and cultural heritage found in Kuching, Bau, Siburan and Padawan sub-districts.
Awang Tengah, who is also the Second Natural Resources and Second Urban Development Minister, said the state had set a target of one million hectares of industrial forests by 2025.
“The forest plantation industry plays an important role in ensuring that wood-based raw materials are sufficient to meet the needs of the timber industry and reduce dependence on timber resources obtained from natural forests.
“However, so far, only 552,369 hectares have been planted with various species of trees such as Acacia, Eucalyptus and various local wood species such as Batai (Paraserianthes falcataria) and Kelampaian (Neolamarckia).
“As this achievement is not encouraging, the state government has instructed each licensee to submit a catch-up plan to ensure that this target can be achieved,” he said.