UNESCO geopark conference starts

Kyodo

Scientists and environmental conservationists from around 30 countries began a four-day meeting Saturday in Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture, to discuss ways to protect and make use of geological features and scenic views around the world.

The 5th International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks at Shimabara Fukko Arena includes forums and events at which experts and citizens will discuss disaster mitigation, tourism and other issues, taking their cue from the Shimabara Peninsula’s history. It is the first time the geoparks conference has been held in Japan.

The Shimabara Peninsula, Lake Toya and Mount Usu in Hokkaido, and the Itoi River in Niigata Prefecture were all designated as global geoparks in 2009 for their rare geological features, expanding the number of such locations to 86 in 27 countries.