Arusha — TANZANIA has stamped its authority as the only Geo Park site in Sub Saharan Africa after it assumed the network’s presidency.
Tanzania takes the baton from Morocco where the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) Senior Assistant Commissioner in charge of Cultural Heritage and Geoparks Department, Joshua Mwankunda replacing Driss Achbal.
By assuming the Presidency, Tanzania is set enhance its visibility as a Geo Park destination globally, attract tourists and researchers as well as expanding its scope in tourism and conservation front.
Africa is currently as home to the Ngorongoro-Lengai UNESCO Global Geoparkm which is located in Northern Tanzania and the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark, in Morocco.
The Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark encompasses the districts of Ngorongoro, Karatu, and Monduli in the Arusha region.
The area is confined to the North and North-West by the Serengeti National Park, Lake Natron to the East, the left arm of the Great Rift Valley to the South, and Maswa Game Reserve to the West.
The area is rich in cultural sites often linked to local traditional rituals, such as the Datoga graves, which are an important pilgrimage site for the Datoga tribe.
These graves belonged to a spiritual leader Gitangda and his son who died over 100 years ago while defending their land against the Maasai in Ngorongoro.
On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation.
This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner.
The UN agency defines Geo parks as single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
It applies the heritage status in raising awareness on key issues facing the society, in the context of the dynamic earth planet, where geological hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis are concerned.