Mt. Batur Geopark in Bali now included in UNESCO Global Geopark Network

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The 11th European Geopark Conference held in Arouca, Portugal, from September 19-21 has agreed to recognize the exotic island of Bali’s volcanic area around Mt.

The 11th European Geopark Conference held in Arouca, Portugal, from September 19-21 has agreed to recognize the exotic island of Bali’s volcanic area around Mt. Batur as a member of the Global Geopark Network.

Batur Global Geopark, centered around the active Batur volcano, is located in northeast Bali, between two round calderas – large volcanic craters that formed about 22,000 years ago. “The area is rich in elements of macro- and micro-volcanic landforms produced by the volcano across several thousands of years.”

“Batur Volcano stands out for its unique geology and grand scenery. From the cultural side, the Geopark showcases very specific local customs related to the Balinese Hindu religion,” explained the conference paper.

The Batur Global Geopark is one of only 4 new members accepted this year, the others being one each in China, Hungary, and Spain. The new sites bring the total number of Geoparks in the Network to 91, located in 27 countries. The Global Geoparks Network links geological heritage sites of international importance, rarity, or beauty that are also used to promote sustainable development for local communities, announced the UNESCO release.

Receiving the Global Geopark Network membership for the Indonesian Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economy was Achyaruddin, Director for Special Interst and MICE, and Yun Yunus Kusmahbrata, Secretary for the Geological Institute. This is the first Indonesian Geopark that has been accepted into the international Geopark Network, said the Head of the Geological Institute, Sukhyar.

Unique cultural elements linked to the location have supported the Batur nomination: Lake Batur, the central water source for the irrigation of thousands of hectares of Bali’s lush rice terraces is managed in the local Subak irrigation communal landscape that has thrived for centuries and is unique to Bali’s culture and religion. The Balinese Subak Landscape has also just recently been recognized as one of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage sites.

Another unique cultural element is the Old Bali tradition, or Bali Aga, that has remained alive to this day on the island of Trunyan, located in the midst of Lake Batur. Villagers here do not bury their dead but leave the deceased under a tree which sends out a sweet aroma.

Located in the district of Bangli on the island of Bali, the Batur Global Geopark covers an area of 100 square kilometers that comprises Mount Batur’s caldera and Lake Batur.

The Batur Geopark membership to the Global Network is UNESCO’s recognition for the management of the geopark towards the continued sustainability of the Earth, while at the same time making this site a most valuable tourist attraction. Tourism activities will enhance the welfare of the local population and raise their standard of living, said Achyaruddin.

Indonesia had nominated two sites to be included in the network, the other being the Karst mountains at Pacitan, in East Java, but UNESCO decided to recognize Batur in its Global Geopark Network in its meeting in Portugal.

The four new members of the Global Geopark Network are: Bakony-Balaton Global Geopark in Hungary; Batur Global Geopark on Bali, Indonesia; Central Catalonia Global Geopark in Spain; and Sanqingshan Global Geopark (PR of China).

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Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.