by Panca Nugraha
JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Mount Rinjani, along with its buffer zone in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara, (NTB) will be included in Unesco’s Global Geopark list this year, Indonesian officials have said.
Known for its breathtaking peak and a crescent-shaped crater lake named Segara Anak, Rinjani is one of the main tourist destinations in the province.
“We have received the notification letter from Unesco that Rinjani has been verified and will be included in the list in 2018,” Chairul Mahsul, general manager of the Rinjani Geopark Council, which was involved in proposing Rinjani as a global geopark to Unesco, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The official recognition, he added, would be announced in April, while the certificate would be handed over in September in Italy during the eighth International Conference on Unesco Global Geoparks.
The inclusion of one of the country’s highest volcanic mountains will bring to three the number of Indonesian natural sites listed as UnescoGlobal Geoparks, which are defined by the Unesco as “geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.”
Indonesia currently has six geoparks, but only two have been listed as Unesco Global Geoparks: Batur Geopark in northeast Bali, which includes Mt. Batur, its lake and two calderas; and the Mt. Sewu Geopark, tropical karst landscape in the southern mountains of East Java.
Worldwide, there are 127 Unesco Global Geoparks in 35 countries.
The government proposed Rinjani being named as a global geopark to Unesco in 2016, said Rinjani Geopark Council’s chairman Misbahib Haraha.
After securing the new status as a global geopark, the management of Rinjani will focus on three main pillars to develop Rinjani, namely conservation, education and people’s economic empowerment, Misbahib said.
“The geopark’s management will encourage more participation by locals so that the benefits from tourism can be enjoyed by both investors and the people,” he said.
Mt. Rinjani and its surroundings, which are rich in flora and fauna and where Lombok people still conduct traditional activities, are protected as part of the Mount Rinjani National Park (TNGR).
TNGR head Raden Agus Budi Santosa said the inclusion of Rinjani in the Unesco list would have a positive impact on both the conservation and tourism development of the area.
To get prepared for the new status, Agus said, his office had designed an online registration system for visitors or climbers.
Last year, Rinjani saw increases in foreign and domestic visitors of 39,659 and 43,120, respectively. By comparison, the mountain welcomed only 30,847 foreign and 62,171 domestic tourists in 2016.