RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has boosted its local expertise to manage and promote the country’s unique natural beauty with training from UN specialists.
The Ministry of Culture trained a dozen Saudis in UNESCO’s “Global Geoparks” program, an initiative that seeks to recognize and protect landscapes across the world.
Dr. Elsa Sattout, a UNESCO specialist in ecology and earth sciences, led the training in Riyadh. The program also welcomed one student from Oman.
Students were briefed on the basic concepts and history of the Global Geoparks program and how new applications are assessed and granted status.
Sattout ran sessions on preserving and documenting geological heritage and promoting geo-tourism. She also covered entrepreneurship, the preservation of geological diversity and the management of geological heritage.
The sessions were part of the Culture Ministry’s “Experts” initiative to train 30 Saudis on UNESCO programs during 2021-2022, enhance the country’s expertise in cultural and natural heritage and promote its natural assets internationally.
UNESCO describes “Global Geoparks” as single, unified geological areas of international significance. A total of 177 areas in 46 countries, mostly in Europe and Asia, have been granted the status since the system was launched in 2015.
The organization awards the designation to areas that are managed to “enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural hazard-related risks.”