Since the year 2000, when the European Network was created, the number of Geoparks has continued to grow. Now, in 2020, there are a total of 161 members from 44 different countries. This shows the need for different societies to get back to work on the planet, deepening and promoting knowledge of geology and rebuilding the links between human beings and the planet’s natural resources. Since 1991, UNESCO has actively collaborated and given constructive support to the long process of the constitution and evolution of the Geoparks. In view of the success and expansion of the Geoparks, UNESCO set up a Working Group of Member States in 2014 to consider transforming the Geoparks initiative into a formal program.
This was reflected on 17th November 2015 with the unanimous approval of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Program. The UNESCO Geoparks became the third UNESCO designation after the Biosphere Reserves and the World Heritage Sites, which were created more than 40 years ago, and with which it works in close synergy.
The UNESCO Geoparks are developed under the direct control of UNESCO and with clear rules adopted by the Member States. Geoparks are areas of excellence dedicated to achieving sustainable and lasting development, which is why they have to pass a strict control for their revalidation every 4 years.
The sustainable development of the project is based on the quality of the destination as a whole, the collaboration and involvement of the stakeholders in the territory, the creation of local products and geotourism as a strategic concept.