The GPS-Adventure Park in the Teutoburger Forest / Eggegebirge Nature Park, the GPS-trails of the Lippe district, the Nature Trails at the Externsteine monument, the “Exquisite Nature” in the Höxter district as well as the Muscat Geotourism Guide have been awarded (again) as an official project of the UN Decade “Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014” (ESD).
Having been awarded in 2008/2009 and 2011/2012, the GPS Adventure Park concept is receiving this prestigious UNESCO award again, following a successful application by the project partners. “Receiving this award for the third time shows that we are on the right track” says the Head of the Lippe district Friedel Heuwinkel.
“Being awarded, again, is a great appreciation and motivation to continue with future innovative features of the project” said Henning Schwarze, project initiator and Managing Partner at INTEWO. The new UN award documents the success and the continued development of the project. In recent months, new applications for the Android and iOS operating systems were published and a new project website had been developed. “With support of innovative applications and with the introduction of new media, we can promote our points if interests and attractions even better” adds Günter Weigel, Executive Board Lippe Tourism & Marketing AG.
The United Nations had proclaimed the goal for the ESD Decade “to anchor the principles of sustainable development in all areas of education.” The GPS Adventure Park is using innovative features to motivate in particular a younger audience to learn more about nature and culture.
GPS-Adventure Parks is a novel concept which provides sustainable tourism and educational information, using latest technologies with support of Geographical Positioning Systems, handheld computers and cell phones, offering multimedia location-based services. Being implemented in Germany two years ago and currently under development on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism in the Muscat region, the concept is part of a joint venture between Oman and Germany, focusing on “Tourism & Education for Sustainable Development”.
GPS-Adventure Parks is one of the few worldwide projects implementing the goals of the UN decade “Education for Sustainable Development” in an exemplary way. The international understanding character of the project, the transcultural cooperation between the Sultanate of Oman and Germany and their joint efforts towards sustainable development are the basis of this successful project, Secretary General of the German Commission for UNESCO, Dr. Roland Bernecker explains. He appreciates the continuous active participation of the international team.
H.E. Mohammed Al Tobi, Tourism Undersecretary, received the award as the representative of the Sultanate of Oman in Bonn. Projects like these are seen as bridges between nations, as a project of understanding among nations, he said during the award ceremony. A lot of things can be said and written, but it is essential to explain the idea of sustainability to our children, otherwise all awards and cooperation will only stay ink on a paper, Al Tobi emphasizes.
Mr. Friedel Heuwinkel, Head of the Nature Park Teutoburger Wald / Eggegebirge said that the GPS-Adventure Park in his region already managed to involve and motivate young citizens and tourists to get more familiar with nature and sustainable development. The long distance between Lippe and Oman also shows that projects on sustainability can be cross-border without any problem and will lead to a transcultural exchange.
Henning Schwarze, Managing Director of World Habitat Society, claims that the concept behind the GPS-Adventure Park has now been approved by receiving this international recognized award. „The multimedia location-based information lead to a better understanding of nature“, Schwarze says.
All three partners, the Sultanate of Oman, the Nature Park Teutoburger Wald / Eggegbirge and the World Habitat Society take a stand for international convergence and projects on sustainable development. The activity is part of a memorandum of understanding, which has been signed between the Oman and German partners in the international year for the rapprochements of cultures. Future activities of the cooperation will include the twining of attractions, student exchanges, joint exhibitions and research activities in the field of good tourism and education.
„Education for sustainable development aims to help people to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge to make informed decisions for the benefit of themselves and others, now and in the future, and to act upon these decisions“, UNESCO explains.