World locator map for geoparks included in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (GGN) as of 2008
World locator map for geoparks included in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (GGN) as of 2008

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.[1] There are global geoparks and national geoparks.


A UNESCO definition of global geopark is a unified area with a geological heritage of international significance.[2] 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.[2] 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.

UNESCO Global Geoparks

The world distribution of geoparks as on 2014
The world distribution of geoparks as on 2014

UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) are world-class geoparks – local areas focused on the protection of geological features and the celebration of that and the wider heritage[3] – recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).[4] UGGp has roots in the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), founded in 2004 in partnership with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).[5] In 2015, the Member States of UNESCO ratified the rebranding to the current name.[6][7] 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.[8]

The first batch of members to the GGN were announced during the first International Conference on Geoparks in 2004. Since 2015, the application and designation process is defined by the Statutes and Operational Guidelines of the UGGp.[9] As of July 2020, there were 161 UGGps in 44 countries[10][11][12] There are now GGN member sites situated in 5 of 7 continents and there being none currently in either Antarctica or Australasia. Notably there are not yet (2020) any global geoparks in the United States or South Asia and most of Africa (except Morocco, Tanzania and Canarias). China is the country with the largest number of global geoparks.[13]


See source Wikidata query. Global Geoparks Network ID, Europe

See also


  1. ^ Patrick J. Mc Keever and Nickolas Zouros (2005). Geoparks: Celebrating earth heritage, sustaining local communities. EPISODES, December 2005, pp. 274–278.
  2. ^ a b "What is a Global Geopark? | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". UNESCO. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  3. ^ "Earth Science for Society". UNESCO. UNESCO. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  4. ^ "UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp)". UNESCO. 2019-02-25. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  5. ^ "About". Global Geoparks Network. 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  6. ^ "UNESCO Press release: UNESCO gives Global Geoparks a new label". UNESCO. UNESCO. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Global Geoparks become UNESCO Sites-Global Network of National Geoparks".
  8. ^ "UNESCO Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences". UNESCO. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  9. ^ "Statutes and Operational Guidelines of the UNESCO Global Geoparks". UNESCO Global Geoparks. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  10. ^ "UNESCO Global Geoparks". UNESCO. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Another 2 Chinese sites receive UNESCO Global Geopark Label".
  12. ^ UNESCO Media Services 17 April 2018
  13. ^ Distribution of GGN Members