Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has organized a training workshop at University of Kerbala on strengthening capacities to protect global geological heritage and establishment of UNESCO geoparks, in preparation to insert Al-Tar Caves area in holy governorate of Karbala to geological parks in the world, with participation of Ministry of Education, Iraqi National Committee for Education, Culture and Science and Arab Educational Organization Culture and Science in League of Arab States and in presence of Arab and foreign researchers and specialists.
His Excellency Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr. Naeem Al-Aboudi, says in a speech delivered on his behalf by President of University of Kerbala, Prof. Dr. Basim K. Nile the ministry, represented by University of Kerbala, seeks to keep pace with requirements of local and global labour market.
He adds that the ministry is working hard to enhance cooperative work with competent authorities to achieve goals of sustainable development, pointing to continuing efforts to consolidate identity of local community.
Al-Aboudi states that the great importance of Al-Tar caves is what prompted them to be selected in workshop as a first step to their inclusion in global geological parks affiliated with UNESCO.
Dr. Elissa Stott, a specialist in Ecology and Earth Sciences Program at UNESCO Regional Office for Sciences in Arab Countries, confirms readiness of UNESCO office in Cairo to provide technical support to Iraq in order to convert some archaeological sites into geological parks, according to certain criteria and data to classify them globally.
She indicates that the office is keen, through the workshop, to clarify the importance of global geological heritage, and manage it in a participatory manner with local communities, explaining that the visit to Al-Tar Caves is among initial steps to include it in UNESCO list.
In the same regard, Dr. Javier Lopez, director of geological park “Florcas of Spain”, states that the purpose of the workshop is studying the importance that the site will have at global level, in addition to the role it plays in supporting economy of surrounding population, and achieving harmony between local population and the parks , pointing to the need for global partnership to achieve development and strengthen the region’s economy.
President of University of Kerbala, Prof. Dr. Basim K. Nile remark a that the main goal of organizing this workshop is including Al-Tar Caves in Karbala within UNESCO geological parks, indicating that this archaeological landmark will contribute to stimulating tourism within the city.
Nile says that the workshop is a good opportunity to cross-fertilize scientific ideas with researchers from various Arab and foreign countries.
It is noteworthy that the workshop included the presentation of research papers by local and foreign researchers explaining the meaning of geological parks, and what are the necessary foundations for their global adoption.