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International Seminar on Hong Kong National Geopark Inauguration 2009 comes to a fruitful end

Source: Source:Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong Published:Nov 19,2009

The International Seminar on Hong Kong National Geopark Inauguration 2009 jointly organized by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong (AGHK) ended on a high note on 4 November 2009 at Science Museum, Hong Kong.

As one of the major programmes to celebrate the successful nomination of Hong Kong Geopark as the National Geopark of China, the seminar is the first international seminar held in Hong Kong which aimed at bringing together the international professionals to share their experience and expertise for the betterment of geopark management and development. Over 200 participants including the public, students and professionals from local and foreign countries attended the seminar.

The Chairman of AGHK, Mr. Young Ng welcomed the speakers and audiences and stated that the Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong has been strenuously driving the establishment of a geopark in Hong Kong. We strongly believe the Hong Kong Geopark will enhance public knowledge and appreciation of rocks and landforms, will popularize earth sciences and is the most effective and holistic approach to conservation.

Mr. Edward Yau, the Secretary for the Environment, reiterated in his opening speech that the Hong Kong Government is responsible and is committed to achieve the three main objectives of geopark: conservation, education and sustainable development. Moreover, the Government also promises to strengthen international cooperation so as to enhance the management and development of the Hong Kong National Geopark.

Ms. Chen Xiaoning, Deputy Director of Department of Geological Environment of the Ministry of Land and Resources introduced the development of National Geopark of China. She explained the Chinese National Geopark’s current tasks and management and its emphasis.

International professionals from UNESCO, Japan, UK, Australia and China shared their mission and experience in the following order:-

l Prof. Ibrahim KOMOO, member of the International Expert Group for UNSCO Global Geoparks Network introduced the background and development of Asia Pacific geoheritage and geoparks network;

l Dr. Wolfgang EDER, member of UNESCO’s Honorary Committee enlightened us on how Geoparks are the new arenas for geo-education, conservation and public education;

l Dr. Michiko YAJIMA, one of the pioneers and proposers of geoparks network in Japan suggested the partnership of Japanese Geoparks and Hong Kong National Geopark for a better future;

l Prof. CHEN Anze, member of the National Geopark Evaluation Committee of the Ministry of Land and Resources explained how geoparks foster growth of ecotourism with earth sciences;

l Ms. Melanie BORDER, coordinator of English Riviera Geopark of UK, talked with great enthusiasm and passion on the attractions and management of English Riviera Geopark;

l Dr. Ko TAKENOUCHI, representative of Itoigawa Global Geopark of Japan shared the geological diversities of the first Japanese global geopark - Itoigawa Global Geopark;

l Ms Joane MCKNIGHT, director of Kanawinka Global Geopark Board of Australia emphasized the geopark is the land of tomorrow and forecasted the way forward for education, promotion and conservation;

l Prof. TAO Kuiyuan, advisor of Yandangshan and Leiqiong Global Geoparks of China using Yandangshan, Leiqiong and Wudalianchi global geoparks analysed the future of China’s volcanoes and Volcanic Rocks geopark, their geological relationship with Hong Kong National Geopark. He also proposed the establishment of the volcanic rocks geoparks alliance.

l Mr. Soichiro UETA, Acting Chairman of Muroto Geopark Promoting Office of Muroto City of Japan stressed the importance and contribution of Muroto Geopark to their local community and earth sciences.

Last but not least, Mr. Alan Wong, Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong closed the seminar after his speech on the planning and management of Hong Kong National Geopark.

Once again, we thank you all our guest speakers who had clearly explained and shared with us the real meaning and principles of geoparks which facilitated our better understanding. The establishment of Hong Kong National Geopark is just the start, our Association will make our best efforts to continue promoting geoconservation, to enable the public to understand and support what is “geopark”, to ensure that Hong Kong National Geopark will work towards the three primary objectives: geoconservation, popularisation of earth sciences and sustainable development.