What is a geopark?

Mots clefs
  • UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

    A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our Earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing the impact of natural disasters.

    A UNESCO recognition

    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.

    161 sites in 44 countries are part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. Seven geoparks are located in France, including two in Provence (Luberon and Haute-Provence).

    An active network

    Global Geoparks Network

    The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) founded in 2004 is a dynamic network where members are committed to work together, exchange ideas of best practice, and join in common projects to raise the quality standards of all products and practices of a UNESCO Global Geopark. While the GGN as a whole comes together every two years, it functions through the operation of regional networks, such as the European Geoparks Network that meets twice a year to develop and promote joint activities.

    The Global Geoparks Network (GGN), of which membership is obligatory for UNESCO Global Geoparks, is a legally constituted not-for-profit organisation with an annual membership fee

    European Geoparks Network

    Founded in 2000 the European Geopark Network (EGN) was initiated by just 4 areas, Reserve Geologique de Haute-provence – France, The Petrified Forest of Lesvos – Greece, Vulkaneifel – Germany and Maestrazgo Cultural Park – Spain.  The EGN is a regional network of the GGN.

    At present, the Network comprises 81 Geoparks from 24 European Countries.

    The main aim of the network 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.

    The European Geoparks Network held meetings twice a year in different geoparks to discuss the Network’s progress , share best practices and experiences.

    This dynamic allowed the development of projects such as “Geotourism for sustainable development”, the “RACCE European Project” raising awareness to natural hazards, “GEOfood” to sustain local producers within the Global Geoparks…


    > 147 Global UNESCO Geoparks

    > 41 countries


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    Front picture: the Maison de la Biodiversité © PNRL – Nathalie Teil

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