UNESCO’s 216th Executive Council meeting in Paris, France, Wednesday (5/24), 2023 decided and established Ijen Geopark as a new UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG) member after previously the Ijen Geopark (Earth Park) was officially proposed as a UGG member.

“Thank God, after going through various processes and hearings, finally Ijen Geopark officially became a UGG member. This is based on an official letter and a release uploaded on the UNESCO website,” said Banyuwangi Regent Ipuk Fiestiandani in Banyuwangi, East Java, recently.

The Ijen Geopark is part of 195 UGG sites spread across 48 countries, along with 18 other geological sites in the world which have just been designated in 2023. Among them are Caçapava (Brazil), Lavreotiki (Greece), Aras (Iran), Hakusan Tedorigawa (Japan) and a number of other world sites.

“Hopefully, the appointment of Ijen as UGG will further increase foreign tourist visits to Banyuwangi so that it will have an impact on the welfare and strengthening of the culture of the Banyuwangi people,” said Ipuk.

Ijen Geopark has a number of sites spread across two regions, namely Banyuwangi and Bondowoso Regencies. The main characteristic that is superior to the Ijen Geopark site is the beauty of the Mount Ijen area which puts forward three components of tourism, namely geology, biology and culture.

Meanwhile, Banyuwangi Ijen Geopark (PHIG) Daily Manager Abdillah Baraas said that at the last assessment stage, Ijen Geopark managed to get a high score with a score of 872.

“Even so, we still have to work hard to make improvements in various aspects so that we can maintain UGG status during the revalidation period in 2026. Of course, in collaboration with related parties,” he said.

Efforts to develop and maintain Ijen Unesco Global Geopark, according to Abdillah, must be carried out in a multi-stakeholder manner. It cannot be done partially, but there must be a role from various parties.

Specifically in Banyuwangi, he said, programs that have been running will continue, such as educational activities in schools, community empowerment, geotourism training, geo-products, to conservation aspects.

“In the future, we will improve a number of things, including public transportation to tourist destinations and geopark sites for tourists. Also, network development,” he said.

Apart from Ijen Geopark, there are three other places originating from Indonesia that have received UGG, namely the Maros Geopark (Pangkep), Merangin (Jambi) and Raja Ampat (Papua).

“The submission of the UGG certificate from UNESCO will be carried out in September in Morocco,” concluded Abdillah. [antaranews]