Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS A GEOPARK?
A Geopark is a nationally protected area containing a number of geological heritage sites of particular importance, rarity or aesthetic appeal. These Earth heritage sites are part of an integrated concept of protection, education and sustainable development
2. WHAT IS A LANGKAWI GEOPARK?
LangkawiGeopark is Malaysia’s first establiedgeopark located in the far northwestern corner of Peninsualr Malaysia. It is also the first geopark in South-east Asia under the banner of UNESCO Global Geopark Network. Located in the Sthate of Kedah, the LangkawiGeopark is unique in the sense that it comprises 99 islands that formed the legendry Langkawi archipelago.
3. WHEN WAS THE LANGKAWI GEOPARK ENDORSED?
The LangkawiGeopark was endorsed in 1st June 2007 by UNESCO.
4. WHERE IS A GEOPARK?
LangkawiGeopark comprises 99 islands with the main Langkawiisland constituting the largest and most populated one. The total land area of the geopark is about 478 square kilometres with a total population of around 96,000, predominantly of Malay ethnic origin.
5. WHAT IS THE LANGKAWI GEOPARK INITIATIVE?
The acceptance of the geopark concept by LADA is due to the common aspiration on sustainable development and appreciation on geological heritage resources shared by both the LADA Management and the Malaysian Geological Heritage Group (MGHG). This decision was highly timely, as LADA had been searching for its own identity to enable Langkawito strive as the region’s leading nature-based tourism destination of its very own kind. By adopting the geopark concept, Langkawi could now become the leading daylight tourism destination in the region focusing mainly on excellent tributes of nature. As a geopark, Langkawi would be able to enhance its capacity to fulfil LADA’s as well as the country’aspiration in:
•Achieving sustainable regional development where nature conservation is given a top priority
•Multiplying tourism products based on the value-added k-tourism
•Increasing carrying capacities among local community which is essential in driving its sustainable socio-economic development
•Making Langkawi the nation’s leading nature education and research destination.
6. WHAT ARE BENEFIT FROM LANGKAWI GEOPARK STATUS?
Langkawi gains great benefits from the establishment of Geopark. Direct and indirect benefits from the establishment of LangkawiGeopark in the form of:
•Promoting Kedah State to be the pioneer state in the country to have an internationally recognized geoheritage conservation entity
•Increasing the number of local and foreign tourists to visit Kedah and neighbouring States, particularly Perlis and Penang
•Increasing abilities to further improve the economy of the neighbouring States
•Promoting Kedah Sate as the leading state in supporting the agenda on sustainable development
7. WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL ACTIVITIES OF A LANGKAWI GEOPARK?
There are a variety of activities that can be considered typical of a Geopark. Most are either geotourism or educational-based, including schools programmes, guided walks and museum exhibitions. Geological heritage protection and promotional activities are also essential activities of a geopark. Socio-economic activities in geoparks are important for sustainable regional development. Geoparks adopt a holistic approach to their heritage and promote all aspects of their region’s natural and cultural heritage.
8. IS ANASIA PACIFIC GEOPARK A UNESCO GEOPARK?
There is no UNESCO Geopark designation at present, however the members of the Asia Pacific Geopark Network are members of the Global Network of National Geoparks assisted by UNESCO (GGN).
9. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF UNESCO WITHIN THE NETWORK?
UNESCO participates fully in the work of the Network and has a right-of-veto concerning all decisions made by the Network.
10. IS THE PERIOD OF MEMBERSHIP OF THE LANGKAWI GEOPARK NETWORK PERMENANT?
Membership of the LangkawiGeopark Network is limited to a period of four years and it applies for all members. After that, membership is re-evaluated. A list of re-evaluation criteria is available, though it is crucial that geoparks participate as active members of the Network to ensure continuing membership. If, following the revalidation exercise it is found that the geopark under consideration is operating fully and strongly as a member of the GGN, it will be awarded a “green card” and its membership of the GGN will be renewed for a further four year period. If, however, some problem has been identified , the evaluator may decide to award that territory a “yellow card’ and its membership of the GGN will be renewed for a two year period. Following the two year period a further revalidation exercise will be carried out which can either result in a “green card” if everything is found to be satisfactory again, or a “red card” should the original problem remain unresolved. In the latter instance, the territory will loose its membership of the GGN.
11. ΙS COMPLIANCE WITH THE MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA EXAMINED?
Yes, each application is examined in detail by members of the advisory committee and discussed by the co-ordination committee which then takes the final decision.
12. IS THE NUMBER OF GEOPARKS WITHIN THE NETWORK LIMITED?
No, currently there is no limit. The important issue is the quality of the territories and their work.
13. IS THE NUMBER OF GEOPARK WITHIN ANY ONE COUNTRY LIMITED?
No, not at present, but national representation on the co-ordination committee might be limited in the future.
14. IS THE COLLECTING OF ORIGINAL GEOLOGICAL MATERIAL (E.G. ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS) PERMITTED WITHIN A GEOPARK?
Yes, the collecting of original geological material is permitted within a geopark provided that is done in a sustainable manner or for scientific / educational purposes AND that it is carried out under scientific supervision and in accordance local legislation.
15. IS THE SELLING OF ORIGINAL GEOLOGICAL MATERIAL (E.G. ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS) PERMITTED WITHIN A GEOPARK?
No, the selling or destruction of the geological value of a geopark or of material either from within the geopark or from anywhere else in the world by organisations that form part of the geopark structure and/or are permitted to use the Geopark brand is not permitted. Precise details concerning this aspect of the charter is available upon request, but typically it refers to fossils, polished rocks and mineral specimens of the type normally found in so-called “rock shops.” It does not refer to quarried or mined material for industrial or domestic use that is quarried or mined under national legislation.