Monday, August 18, 2008

N. Sulawesi plans 3rd World Heritage bid for Bunaken

The North Sulawesi provincial administration plans to propose Bunaken National Park for the third time to UNESCO as a World Heritage site, in a bid to protect the area.

UNESCO rejected designating Bunaken as a heritage site in 2000 and 2005, citing lack of required documentation.

Marieta Kuntag, assistant for economy and development in the provincial administration, said the province was preparing the documents required by UNESCO and expected to get a decision by February 2009.

"We are optimistic UNESCO will declare the area a heritage site thanks to its naturally beautiful coral reefs," she told The Jakarta Post during a visit to the province last week.

With its rich biodiversity, Bunaken is known as the country's most popular site for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The park covers a total area of 89,065 hectares and is home for more than 2,500 types of fish and various kinds of sponges and corals.

The government also plans to propose other marine wonders as heritage sites including Derawan Island in East Kalimantan, Raja Ampat in Papua, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Togean in Tomini Bay, Central Sulawesi.

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