In 1991, the UNESCO International Symposium on the Conservation of Geological Heritage was held in Digne (France). This led to the ‘International declaration of the rights of the memory of the Earth’. This was an important step that brought about a great deal of work and action in relation to the conservation of geological heritage around the world.

It was not until 1996, however, during the 30th International Geological Congress held in Beijing (China) that the concept of the Geopark emerged. It was an idea that united the need to protect geological heritage, with the needs of the society in which this heritage was located.

Geoparks preserve and give value to areas of geological interest as a record of the Earth’s history, in a similar way to how it was already done with the biotic components, with the conviction that they are key witnesses to the evolution of the planet and that they will be decisive for our present and, above all, future sustainable development.

The European Geoparks Network (EGN) was formally established in June 2000. In 2001, an agreement was signed, placing the EGN under the auspices of UNESCO, which UNESCO had been following since its creation. In 2004, seeing the network’s success, 17 European and 8 Chinese Geoparks created the Global Geoparks Network (GGN). On the 17th November 2015, the General Assembly of UNESCO agreed to create a new brand, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, and to endorse the bylaws of the new International Geoscience and Geoparks Program.

Photo below and cover photo: Fontenoy Building, UNESCO headquarters in Paris. | UNESCO

Cover photo: Fontenoy Building, UNESCO headquarters in Paris. | UNESCO