Definition and History of UNESCO Global Geoparks

  • UNESCO has a clear and comprehensive definition of the geopark it has invented: an area with clear boundaries and a sufficient area that encompasses a number of rare and prominent geological phenomena, with valuable natural, historical and cultural attractions. This extension should have expansion and exploitation management plans and conservation plans and be capable of raising the economic level of the local community and attracting public cooperation.

  • In addition to the official UNESCO definition, it can be said that geopark is a region characterized by the presence of significant geocytes, rich nature and environment, attractive cultural features and most importantly, the active participation and participation of the local community in development, conservation and sustainability programs. Unlike a variety of natural protected areas, geoparks are not only restricted to visitors, but also designed for people. Geoparks provide tourists with access to natural and cultural sites and sites that will provide sustainable economic prosperity for local communities. An important prerequisite for a geopark’s success is the existence of appropriate and accurate plans and strategies for managing the geopark; strategies for conservation, proper utilization, empowering the local community, and sustainable geopark development.

  • Geoparks pursue broad goals: expanding the local community’s economy through the expansion of geotourism, explaining the value and originality of land and nature to everyone’s minds, gaining public participation in the conservation and preservation of geological heritage, and raising public awareness of geosciences, including strategic issues. It is the thought of the founders of the Geoparks network.

  • The first moves to address and protect geosciences and geological heritage were made by organizations, groups and associations such as ProGeo, IUGS, IGCP, UNESCO’s Division of Earth Sciences and the Council of Europe and the Malvern Group. But the meeting between Nicolas Zorous of Greece and Guy Martini of France during the International Congress of Geology in China (1997) may be considered a turning point in the formation of the European Geoparks Network and then the Global Geoparks Network. Today, the two play an important role in the issue of geoparks in the world.

  • The UNESCO-sponsored Global Geoparks Network was formed in 2004, with 17 geoparks from Europe and 8 geoparks from China being its first members. Another network previously formed was the European Geoparks Network (EGN). A new network, the Asia Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN), has emerged as the second regional network.
    It should be noted that 213 global geoparks have been registered in the UNESCO Global Geoparks list until 2024.

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