UNESCO states that UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural disasters-related risks. By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in history and society today, UNESCO Global Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area. The creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high quality training courses is stimulated as new sources of revenue are generated through geotourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected[1].
Geopark is an area that is managed comprehensively, generally paying great attention to ecological, educational and economic aspects. As an important source of learning, Geopark keeps records of climate change trends, adopts best practice approaches for utilizing renewable energy sources, and applies the best standards of ecotourism management. Geopark presents information about sustainable development, especially related to natural resource management. In addition, geopark also exposes concerns related to geological disaster and their mitigation strategies. Determination of the status of the geopark is a good strategy in maintaining the geological conditions to advance the life of the community which is an integral part of the existence of certain areas.
To seek promotion and support the planet’s geological heritage, and encourage research and development supported by related communities, UNESCO assissted to develop the Global Geopark Network (GGN) which established in 1998[2]. In the network, UGGp’s can collaborate and empower local communities to promote the geological features that exist in their environment through sustainable tourism, maintain the preservation and splendor of geological features, enhance the creativity of local communities in building businesses.
Four of the fifteen National Geoparks in Indonesia have been recognized as UGGp’s. One of them is Rinjani-Lombok Geopark, which was proposed in 2007. The geopark, which was established in April, 2018, is managed by a management unit that is located at the Province Development Planning Agency office. The management board consists of General Manager, Manager of Community Development & Women Empowering, Manager of Conservation, Disaster Mitigation & Climate Change, Manager of Education & Culture, Manager of Research and Development & Networking, Manager of Marketing & Creative Economic Development, and Manager of Geotourism & Trekking[3]. Existing units indicate the types of functions that must be handled by the Rinjani-Lombok Geopark management unit. At the initial stage, various efforts that have been made have shown results, such as the determination of the geosites along with information boards about the geosites, in the area of Mount Rinjani National Park (TNGR) and surrounding areas. But of course, there are many other matters that still need to be addressed, especially the development and empowerment of communities around.
After the earthquake that occurred on 29th of July 2018, which was followed by aftershocks and several new earthquakes that were classified as large and occurred continuously for several months, thousands people have lost their livelihoods, both those who depend their lives on Rinjani trekking and non-trekking in Sembalun sub-district and surrounding areas . Based on the report of the Value Chain Analysis of Gema Alam – UNDP in May, 2019[4], the closing of Rinjani trekking stripe has a direct impact on tourist visits and income of all tourism actors in Sembalun. In 2017, foreign tourist arrivals totaled 39,659 visitors and domestic tourists 43,120 visitors. The number of visits shows the magnitude of economic losses from the tourism sector both for non-tax state revenues and for tourism actors such as porters, guides, travel agents, trekking organizers, motorcycle taxis, food stall owners, homestay, hotels, cafes, custom house’s, hills for hiking, and others. The rough counting shows that the community has lost more than 400 trillion over nine months, from July, 2018 to August, 2019.
There has not been any visible effort made by the management board to restore the Rinjani area as the main site of Rinjani-Lombok Geopark. Before the area was restored, during that time 1,500 porters and guides as well as thousands of other tourism actors lost their income from Rinjani. There are several issues that must be addressed immediately, physically and non-physically, to restore the economy of the community around Rinjani. Rinjani-Lombok Geopark must immediately improve and make a significant contribution to the recovery of the geopark area which has implications for the economic activities of the communities. This is important so that the existence of Rinjani-Lombok Geopark provides great benefits for people’s lives.
[4] The main problem of the loss of livelihoods of the people of Sembalun after the earthquake was the closure of the Rinjani trekking. In this case, Value Change Analysis (VCA) was carried out to find the value chain in several sub-sectors in Sembalun. This research used a qualitative approach with data collection methods ranging from interviews, observations, document studies, and documentation. The VCA was conducted by Gema Alam NTB, supported by UNDP, reported in June, 2019

By: Muhammad Juaini

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