UNESCO Geoparks - Global and European
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. At present, there are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 41 countries. A webpage of each UNESCO Global Geopark is available, with detailed information on each site.
UNESCO’s work with geoparks began in 2001. In 2004, 17 European and 8 Chinese geoparks came together at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to form the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) where national geological heritage initiatives contribute to and benefit from their membership of a global network of exchange and cooperation.
On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation. This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner.
The Organization supports Member States’ efforts to establish UNESCO Global Geoparks all around the world, in close collaboration with the Global Geoparks Network.
The European Network of Geoparks consists of 75 members from a variety of countries as can be seen below.
Top 10 Focus Areas of UNESCO Geoparks
UNESCO Global Geoparks inform people about the sustainable use and need for natural resources, whether they are mined, quarried or harnessed from the surrounding environment, while at the same time promoting respect for the environment and the integrity of the landscape. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Natural Resources
Many UNESCO Global Geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis, and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies among local communities. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Geological Hazards
UNESCO Global Geoparks hold records of past climate change and are educators on current climate change as well as adopting a best practise approach to utilising renewable energy and employing the best standards of “green tourism.” More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Climate Change
It is a pre-requisite that all UNESCO Global Geoparks develop and operate educational activities for all ages to spread awareness of our geological heritage and its links to other aspects of our natural, cultural and intangible heritages. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Education
UNESCO Global Geoparks are encouraged to work with academic institutions to engage in active scientific research in the Earth Sciences, and other disciplines as appropriate, to advance our knowledge about the Earth and its processes. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Science
UNESCO Global Geoparks are fundamentally about people and about exploring and celebrating the links between our communities, our practices and the Earth. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Culture
UNESCO Global Geoparks have a strong emphasize on empowering women whether through focussed education programmes or through the development of women’s cooperatives. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Women
Even if an area has outstanding, world-famous geological heritage of outstanding universal value it cannot be a UNESCO Global Geopark unless the area also has a plan for the sustainable development of the people who live there. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Sustainable Development
UNESCO Global Geoparks actively involve local and indigenous peoples, preserving and celebrating their culture. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Local and indigenous Knowledge
UNESCO Global Geoparks are areas that use the concept of sustainability, value the heritage of Mother Earth and recognize the need to protect it. More on UNESCO Global Geoparks & Geoconservation
European Geoparks Network (EGN)
The main aim of EGN is to support its members to bring sustainable territorial development to the geopark by using that territory’s geological heritage, primarily through the development of geotourism. It is our aspiration that geotourism on a European-scale can be developed in this way.
The European Geoparks Network is responsible for the assessment of it’s members operation and services in order to promote the “European Geoparks” label as a high quality brand in Geotourism. Geopark management bodies are responsible for the establishment of a management and action plan which should describe it’s members operation and activities and should refer to the following issues: Earth heritage sites identification and assessment, natural and cultural heritage elements validation, geosite protection and geoconservation, Earth heritage interpretation infrastructure and activities, Geotourism infrastructure and activities, Environmental education activities and tools, Promotional activities, Support of local business, Monitoring, International relationships.
The Network owns the “European Geopark” trademark registered within all countries in the European Community. The members of the European Geoparks Network are members of the Global Geoparks Network assisted by UNESCO (GGN).
Further information on European Geoparks
Many of these European Geoparks are also UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK, see the list by clicking on the link down below
Information on UNESCO Global Geoparks
A short promotional video on UNESCO Global Geoparks:
What is a UNESCO Geopark?
Here you can read published newsletters on European Geoparks::