A geopark is a unified area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable way, and promotes the economic well-being of the people who live there.There are global geoparks and national geoparks.
A UNESCO definition of global geopark is a unified area with a geological heritage of international significance.Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of our dynamic planet. Many geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies with local communities. Geoparks embody records of past climate changes and are indicators of current climate changes as well as demonstrating a "best practise" approach to using renewable energy and employing the best standards of "green tourism". Tourism industry promotion in geoparks, as a geographically sustainable and applicable tourism model, aims to sustain, and even enhance, the geographical character of a place.
Geoparks also inform 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. Geoparks are not a legislative designation though the key heritage sites within a geopark are often protected under local, regional or national legislation.The multidisciplinary nature of the concept of geopark and tourism promotion in geoparks differentiates itself from other models of sustainable tourism. In fact, sustainable tourism promotion within geoparks encompasses many of the features of sustainable tourism including geo-tourism (geo-site tourism: as a basic factor), community-based tourism and integrated rural tourism (as a vital need), ecotourism, and cultural heritage tourism.
The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) is supported by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Many national geoparks and other local geoparks projects also exist which are not included in the Global Geoparks Network.
The geoparks initiative was launched by UNESCO in response to the perceived need for an international initiative that recognizes sites representing an earth science interest.Global Geoparks Network aims at enhancing the value of such sites while at the same time creating employment and promoting regional economic development. The 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, on 17 November 2015. This expressed governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner. This new designation formalized UNESCO's relationship with the Global Geoparks Network. The Global Geoparks Network works in synergy with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and Man and the Biosphere (MAB) World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) was established in 1998 and received ad hoc support from UNESCO from 2001 until 2015, when the relationship and designation was formalized. Since 2015, members are officially designated by UNESCO, as UNESCO Global Geoparks.According to the Statutes and Operational Guidelines of the UNESCO Global Geoparks , for a geopark to apply to be included in the GGN, it needs to:
See UNESCO Global Geoparks.
The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) covers internationally designated protected areas, each known as biosphere reserves, that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature.
Lushan Geopark and Lushan National Park are located in the region around Mount Lu, in northern Jiangxi Province. The protected area of 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) extends from the Yangtze River to the Lake Poyang basin.
Geological Park Iskar–Panega is an UNESCO-run Geopark in Northern Bulgaria, located 3 km south of the municipal centre Lukovit. It consists of two sections: the Karlukovo Karst Complex lies in the valley of the Iskar River, while the Roadside Landscape Park "Panega" is at the Zlatna Panega valley. Started in 2006, it became the first geopark in Bulgaria, and created temporary employment for 20 previously unemployed people. Another economic effect was that the number of overnights at main lodging facilities in Lukovit increased by 40%, and the number of visits to the city and region rose significantly.
Geotourism deals with the natural and built environments.
The Protected areas of Portugal are classified under a legal protection statute that allows for the adequate protection and maintenance of biodiversity, while providing services for ecosystem that maintains the natural and geological patrimony.
Fforest Fawr Geopark was the first Geopark to be designated in Wales having gained membership of both the European Geoparks Network and the UNESCO-assisted Global Network of National Geoparks in October 2005. The Geopark aims to promote and support sustainable tourism and other opportunities to improve the economy of the area whilst safeguarding the natural environment. Its aims largely coincide with the statutory duties and purpose of the National Park within which it sits.
The European Geoparks Network (EGN) functions as the regional organization of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and the UNESCO International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (UNESCO-IGGP). Its main objective is to ensure cooperation between geoparks for the protection of geological heritage and the promotion of sustainable development of their territories in Europe. In 2020 January, the EGN had 75 institutional members from 26 European countries and there are several aspiring geopark projects, applying for a UNESCO label and therefore the permanent EGN membership.
Psiloritis Natural Park is a geopark located in the island of Crete, in southern Greece.
The 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, on 17 November 2015. This expressed governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner. This new designation formalized UNESCO's relationship with the Global Geoparks Network (GNN), which received ad hoc support from UNESCO since 2001. The network was set up to conserve earth’s geological heritage, as well as to promote the sustainable research and development by the concerned communities. The GGN membership is formed by geoparks—local areas focused on the protection of geological features and the celebration of that and the wider heritage.
The Novohrad – Nógrád Geopark (NNG), a geopark straddling the border between Hungary and Slovakia, is one of the first transnational geoparks in the world. It is a member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network and European Geoparks Network.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is an internationally designated area of geological interest in County Clare, Ireland. It was the third Geopark to be designated in Ireland, and is recognised at both European and global levels.
The Fundy Biosphere Reserve is a biosphere reserve next to the upper Bay of Fundy, covering 442,250 hectares in New Brunswick, Canada. The area was designated as such by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2007.
The derivation of the term geoheritage is from geological heritage. It is thus a heritage category comparable to other forms of natural heritage, such as biodiversity. Some geoheritage sites, or "geosites", are related to human activity such as mining, and can also be viewed in terms of cultural heritage.
The Azores Geopark is a network of 121 geographically-dispersed sites of geographic heritage and marine areas that covers the nine volcanic islands of the archipelago of the Azores. This network is managed by the Azores Geopark Association, a non-profit association, with its headquarters in Horta on the island of Faial, established 19 May 2010. It is part of the European Geoparks Network and the UNESCO-assisted Global Geoparks Network. The Association's mission is to ensure the geological conservation, environmental education and sustainable development, while promoting the well-being of the population and a respect for the environment.
The Asia Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN) is the regional geopark network of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and the UNESCO International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (UNESCO-IGGP). Its main role is to coordinate the activities of GGN in the UNESCO regions of Asia and the Pacific, to promote networking between global geoparks and geopark professionals in the region and to provide support for sustainable economic development in geopark areas. As of 2020 February, the APGN had 60 institutional members in countries. The Pacific region is currently not represented by a global geopark, but there are ongoing geopark projects, just as in other countries of Asia.
Cultural sustainability as it relates to sustainable development, has to do with the maintaining of cultural beliefs, cultural practices, heritage conservation, culture as its own entity, and attempts to answer the question of whether or not any given cultures will exist in the context of the future. Culture is defined as a set of beliefs, morals, methods, and a collection of human knowledge that is dependent on the transmission of these characteristics to younger generations. Sustainability is defined as the ability to sustain or continue. The two concepts have been intertwined within social and political domains, and as such, have become one of the more important concepts of sustainability.
Kütralkura is a geopark in southern Chile's Araucanía Region. The geopark has an area of 8100 km2 and lies mostly in the Andes. It spans four communes: Curacautín, Lonquimay, Melipeuco and Vilcún. All of Conguillio National Park and Llaima, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, lie within the geopark.
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