Jakarta. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization announced on its website on Sunday (15/04) that it has accepted Mount Rinjani in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, and Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu in Sukabumi, West Java, as part of its Global Geoparks Network.
The network was established in 1998 to promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives, such as tourism, to enhance regional sustainable development.
According to Unesco, global geoparks also help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters.
The two Indonesian sites, along with 11 others situated in Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, China, Spain, Canada, Belgium, France and Tanzania, are included in the agency's 2018 list of global geoparks.
"Uneso's executive board today gave the Unesco Global Geopark label to 13 sites demonstrating the diversity of the planet's geology," the agency said.
The announcement sees Mount Rinjani and Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark joining a list of nearly 130 geoparks in 35 countries.
Indonesia's Mount Batur in northeastern Bali and Mount Sewu Geopark in East Java were designated as Unesco Global Geoparks in 2015.
"I have just received news that Mount Rinjani has been selected as a Unesco Global Geopark during a Unesco executive board meeting," Mount Rinjani Geopark general manager Chairul Mahsul said on Saturday, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.
The selection of Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark was confirmed by West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, who said the process usually takes around 10 years after a park is submitted for Unesco's consideration.
"Three years ago, the central government declared Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu a national geopark. We submitted it to Unesco for confirmation as a global geopark right after that, and now it has been accepted," Ahmad was quoted as saying on Monday.
The archipelago is littered with volcanoes that form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire – a string of seismically active regions around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
This includes Puncak Jaya, one of the so-called Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.
According to Antara, Mount Rinjani and Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark will be officially certified as global geoparks in a ceremony scheduled for September.
Mount Rinjani and Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark
According to Unesco's website, Mount Rinjani has a rich and diverse landscape. It has varied forest types, ranging from savannah and semi-deciduous forests, to lower montane evergreen forests and tropical montane evergreen forests.
At 3,726 meters above sea level, it is Indonesia's second-highest volcano and it has a 50-square-kilometer caldera, which contains Lake Segara Anak.
The 41,000-hectare geopark is surrounded by 66,000 hectares of protected forest, according to the park's official website.
The site was proposed as a global geopark in 2008.
The 126,100-hectare Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark meanwhile, is spread over eight subdistricts and 74 villages.
The site is believed to contain the first land that formed on the western part of Java Island. It has the oldest rock formation, known as the Ciletuh Formation, which according the geopark's official website, is very distinctive, unique and rare in terms of fossil tectonics.
The oldest rocks in the Ciletuh Formation are believed to have formed 134 million years ago, with unique shapes that resemble various animals, such as rhinos, turtles, frogs, dragons and bulls.
Besides the rock formation, the geopark also has several waterfalls, a turtle conservation area, caves and a Sundanese cultural center.