Aras Geopark one step closer for being global

November 19, 2019 - 19:27

TEHRAN – Iran is completing an all-inclusive dossier for its Aras Geopark hoping the northwestern area to be registered on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Global Geoparks list.

“The dossier will be submitted to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council within a month,” Fatemeh Moniri, the director of Aras Free Zone, said on Tuesday, ISNA reported.

“It is expected that UNESCO assessors visit Aras Geopark in the early month of Khordad (late May 2020) in order to weigh its situation,” she said.

She made the remarks on the sidelines of a workshop on the development of geoparks and local communities, in which several experts and academia attended.

World-recognition of Aras Geopark will lay the ground for long-term goals of empowering local communities and developing a network of geopark associates, she said.

Other attendees also believed that establishing a geopark can help develop tourism and boost the economy.

Talking at the workshop, Alireza Amri-Kazemi, a geopark expert, said, “In a geopark, the local community is taken into account and the environment is preserved in such a way that a visitor feels they have entered a different area. Geoparks cover topics such as natural resources, geological hazards, climate change, education, culture, women, sustainable development, indigenous and local knowledge, and geological conservation.”

Situated in East Azarbaijan province, Aras Geopark covers an area of about 1670 square kilometers, sprawling across the whole Jolfa county. The topography is generally extremely steep and forms astonishing landscapes so that the highest point in the Jolfa region is the Kiyamaki mount with 3347 meters and the lowest points include the northern boundary and the Aras River valley with 720 to 390 meters.

It has an appropriate geo-tourism attraction, because of its mountainous landscapes, and outcropping different sedimentary and igneous rocks, diversity in tectonic structures, semi-cold and semi-arid climate and diverse flora and fauna.

In May 2017, UNESCO included Iran’s southern Qeshm Island on its Global Geoparks list. Qeshm embraces a wide range of ecotourism attractions such as the Hara marine forests and about 60 villages dotted mostly across its rocky coastlines. The island has an abundance of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, dolphins, and turtles as well.

AFM/MG

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