Geography and Resources Management (GRMG) students have recently had the privilege of joining an online guest talk from Mr. Alvin Ng, Geopark Officer of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the HKSAR Government. Mr. Ng discussed the concepts of UNESCO global geoparks, geoheritage and geosites of Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, the geopark management and the challenges and opportunities in achieving regional sustainable development.
Students were inspired as Mr. Ng discussed the interesting geosites and the international significant geoheritage of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. For example, the Sai Kung Volcanic Region has the relics of a supervolcano. The most important one is the globally rare hexagonal rock formation, its unique petrology, extensive distribution and huge scale making it an international significant geoheritrage. Moreover, Mr. Ng also presented the Northeast Sedimentary Rock Region which has 400 million years geological history and has diverse sedimentary rocks, fossils and geological structures. Mr. Ng said, “The Northeast Sedimentary Rock Region has rich cultural and ecological heritage and is a perfect integration of geology, ecology and culture.”
The discussion also links to the conservation, geoscience popularization and geopark promotion, which have been carrying out by AFCD and other geopark stakeholders, for example, the geopark communities. Mr. Ng mentioned that there are challenges to sustain community development in geopark area as most of the villages have low population and not much economic activities. But Mr. Ng is optimistic that the challenges can be overcome and said, “We can uncover and conserve geological, ecological and cultural heritage, properly use the resources, integrate the geological resources into geotourism resources which can boost economic and cultural activities”. In the long run, we agree that engaging local communities on conservation and promotion are important to sustain the regional environmental, economic and social development.
Mr. Ng encouraged the GRMG students to visit the geosites in the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and participate in the future geopark activities to support the promotion of geoconservation to the public.