Thailand celebrates Khorat as new UNESCO Global Geopark
8 June 2023, Bangkok — The Thai Government and UNESCO celebrated the recent designation of the Khorat Global Geopark as the country’s second official UNESCO Global Geopark after the successful inscription of Satun to the Global Geoparks Network in 2018.
In a ceremony of 6 June at Thai Government House, Mr Libing Wang, Director ad interim of UNESCO Bangkok Office, presented the UNESCO certificate of recognition to H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, who expressed his hope that this recognition will be leveraged for the benefit and development of local Khorat communities.
The Khorat inscription is one of 18 new sites from across the globe included in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network in 2023. Notably, Khorat is this year’s only addition to the distinguished Network from the Mekong subregion.
Spanning five districts in the Lam Takhong river basin, on the southwestern margin of the Khorat Plateau in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, the Khorat Geopark’s notable geological features include its parallel ranges of cuestas and its numerous fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, such as ancient elephants.
The Khorat Geopark ceremony was attended by H.E. Ms Treenuch Thienthong, Minister of Education and Chair of the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, and H.E. Mr Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, who together welcomed the prime minister and guided him through an exhibition devoted to the geopark.
Mr Jatuporn Buruspat, Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, delivered introductory remarks, which were followed by expert presentations given by Ms Oranuj Lorphensri, Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, who described the successful nomination process; and Assistant Professor Pratueng Jintasakul, Director of Khorat Geopark, who spoke about the site’s outstanding value.
As with the two other UNESCO natural heritage sites in the area, namely the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve and the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, Khorat Geopark is characterized by close ties between natural heritage and the local culture and economy.
The Thailand Ministry of Education, as Secretariat of the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, plans to draw on these UNESCO sites as collectively constituting a rich educational nexus for learning about nature, local wisdom and sustainable development, which can be utilized in educational institutions, especially those within the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet).
Representing the Permanent Secretary for Education and Vice Chairperson of the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Suthin Kaewpana, Deputy Permanent Secretary; and Mr Phichet Phophakdee, Deputy Permanent Secretary and Secretary-General of the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, were also present at the celebration ceremony.
Representatives from different organizations in Nakhon Ratchasima Province as well as schools and communities involved in different activities of the geopark also visited UNESCO Bangkok Office after the ceremony at the Government House on the same day.
Photo credits for the ceremony at the Government House: Thailand's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Photo credits for the group visit at UNESCO Bangkok: UNESCO/C. Wongot