The UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in cooperation with Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO co-organized the workshop on “Youth Engagement in UNESCO Global Geoparks Conservation” in Qeshm Island on 20-22 February 2019. The Geological Survey & Mineral Explorations of Iran (GSI), Qeshm Free Area, and Tabas and Aras National Aspiring Geoparks also collaborated with the organizers and supported the event.
The three-day workshop took place in Qeshm Island and brought together 35 young participants living around Qeshm Island, Tabas and Aras National Aspiring Geoparks areas respectively and national experts from different institutions including the Geological Survey & Mineral Explorations of Iran (GSI), GINA Private Institute, the Regional Research Centre for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in West and Central Asia under auspices of UNESCO and Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark.
During the opening ceremony of the event, Ms. Maryam Soltanzadeh, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, welcomed the participants and addressed the importance of the involvement of youth in developing geologically characterized areas such as Qeshm Island. “Today we live in a global society facing many challenges. Among them is the need for a more sustainable use of our natural resources and a greater need for many countries with these resources to maximize to their populations the benefit these resources bring”, said Ms. Soltanzadeh. She then highlighted that history has proven that only when the young brains are sharp and young hands are capable should the thrive of society become possible.
Besides, Dr. Amrikazemi, Director of Qeshm Island UNESCO Gobal Geopark, Dr. Bita Mirzapour, Expert of Planning and Budget Office at GSI, and Mr. Mehdi Abbasi, Tourism Manager of Aras National Aspiring Geopark, along with a representative from Tabas National Aspiring Geopark also gave their remarks in the opening ceremony.
The objective of the workshop was to engage young women and men as active citizens towards sustainable development and peace in their communities, and also to empower youth in the Geoparks to play a leading role for mitigating challenges related to the climate change and mass tourism.
The Qeshm International Incubator hosted the sessions where facilitators shared their knowledge with the young participants on different themes such as Ecosystems, Employability through Geoproducts, Geoconservation, Sustainable Tourism, Disaster Risk Reduction, etc.
In addition, two colleagues from FAO Representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran displayed their most recent programmes related to youth in a booth that was set up in the hall of the venue.
The workshop concluded by a field visit to the most relevant sites within Qeshm Island UNESCO Geopark. Youth then expressed their gratitude to the organizers for the privileged opportunity, which has helped them understand how a Geopark operates and which has also encouraged them to get engaged in the very core of the Geoparks management and conservation.
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