Global Geoparks

Support for national Geoparks responds to the strong need in countries around the world for an international framework of geoconservation to enhance the value of the heritage of the Earth.

This new strategy seeks to safeguard and sustainably manage landscapes and geological formations which are key witnesses to the history of life on earth, thereby stimulating regional economic and cultural development.

International geoconservation to enhance the value of the heritage of the Earth.


In response to the perceived need for an international initiative for the recognition of sites and terrains specifically of earth science interest, the International Network of Geoparks programme was launched in 2004. This programme has the dual objective of enhancing the value of sites, which act as key witnesses to the Earth’s history whilst creating employment and promoting regional economic development. A new internationally recognized label ‘Global Geopark’, destined to become synonymous to environmental protection and development, will be awarded each year to some twenty territories which merit this distinction distributed all over the world. Eventually, up to 500 Geoparks will be recognized worldwide.

The resulting Geopark Programme will operate in synergy with World Heritage Centre and Man and the Biosphere (MAB) World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

A Global Geopark:

  • Is a territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of its archaeological, ecological or cultural value;
  • Will have a management plan designed to foster socio-economic development that is sustainable (most likely to be based on geotourism);
  • Will demonstrate methods for conserving and enhancing geological heritage and provide means for teaching geoscientific disciplines and broader environmental issues;
  • Will be proposed by public authorities, local communities and private interests acting together;
  • Will be part of a global network, which will demonstrate and share best practices with respect to Earth heritage conservation and its integration into sustainable development strategies.