For the first time in the city of Osh, Kyrgyz Republic, an international forum "3GEO" - geoheritage, geotourism and geocollaboration for the creation of UNESCO Geoparks - was held with the assistance of the UNESCO Cluster Office for Central Asia. The first Russian geopark that has received international recognition and the status of a UNESCO Global Geopark - "Yangan-Tau", located in the Salavatsky District of the Republic of Bashkortostan - took an active part in the event. The forum discussed the potential of geological heritage for sustainable tourism, education, science and environmental development of the local population, as well as the integration of 3GEO partners.
- At the end of the forum several agreements were signed: in particular, agreements were reached with the Tian Shan Geological Society and the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic on sending specialists from Kyrgyzstan for internships in Bashkortostan, - said Airat Galiev, Director of "Yangan-Tau" Geopark, ESG Center of New Ecoterritories Development at Bashkir State University, who spoke at the forum.
Airat Galiev emphasised that since 2018 Yangan-Tau Geopark has been actively involved in geopark development activities in Central Asia. At the forum, the Geopark Director shared his experience of promotion in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, told about the criteria for UNESCO Geoparks and formation of a nomination dossier to the GGN network, disclosed the concept of 'geopark' in the legislation of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Leading Geopark staff members Ainur Sitdikov and Adelina Khasanova gave presentations on geopark activities in the field of sustainable development and interaction with local communities.
- The event provided an opportunity to improve understanding of the UNESCO Geoparks concept and to look for ways to incorporate the term "Geopark" into Central Asian legislation. By the way, Bashkortostan is a pioneer in developing and launching a law on geoparks - until now, there has been no such practice in Russia and in the post-Soviet area, - said Elina Gataullina, executive director of the Committee of the Republic of Bashkortostan for UNESCO.
The main purpose of the event was to unite joint efforts and coordinate actions towards cooperation "3GEO" in Central Asia. The theme of this forum emphasizes the links between geological heritage as a subject of science, geotourism as a sphere of economy and social development, and geo-education and geo-collaboration as a mechanism for implementing and obtaining results in the Central Asian region, as set out earlier in a joint resolution.