Geopark is an innovative developmental approach that was introduced globally and it gives serious attention to the concept of a holistic development covering aspects of heritage conservation, community development, socio-economic improvement and public education. Efforts to integrate all the above aspects require a good integrated governance system that builds networking and common understanding between all the stakeholders. An integrated governance system implies that there is a need to find shared values as a binding agent of social relations at the organisational, institutional, and individual levels. This paper is based on an exploratory study that aims to identify the major components of shared values in order to strengthen the local community's common agenda for heritage conservation and sustainable livelihood. The study employed focus group discussions involving 21 respondents representing 15 stakeholders in Kilim Geoforest Park. The data collected were transcribed verbatim and went through various levels of data processing before arriving at the final themes. Five main components of shared values were developed which are: (1) natural and cultural heritage conservation; (2) infrastructure and support systems; (3) tourism and socio-economic development; (4) transfer and dissemination of knowledge; and (5) ecosystem sustainability. In general, the values of commitment, cleanliness, safety and carrying capacity received particular attention among the community stakeholders in their efforts to ensure a sustainable development of ecotourism in Kilim. Based on the findings, a framework for public education was developed grounded on the five shared values that takes into consideration the functions and responsibilities of each of the stakeholders. The educational intervention gives attention to two approaches which are stakeholder's and shared value approaches. It is hoped that the identified shared values can be incorporated into the development of an integrated governance system in Langkawi Geopark in order to help achieve the objectives of sustainable development.
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|Published - 2015