A Geopark holds history, community and progression at the heart of its definition.
To hold Geopark status, a region must have a geological heritage of international significance. This could be through it’s outstanding natural beauty, it’s contribution to scientific research or because it holds great educational value. It’s also important to note, Geoparks are not just about Geology. They encompass sites of archaeological and historical significance, areas with a wealth of flora and fauna and sites that are home to stories and folklore that are too beautiful and significant to be forgotten.
The main difference between a Geopark and a World Heritage Site is they have a strong commitment to directly benefit the local economy and community. They play an active role in working with stakeholders, communities and businesses on sustainability, conservation, geology and heritage.
Global Geoparks became an official programme within the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2015. UNESCO Global Geoparks are places where outstanding geological heritage is used to support sustainable development through conservation, education, community engagement and sustainable tourism.
At present there are 195 UNESCO Global Geoparks across 48 countries around the world. Presently, there are 3 UNESCO Global Geoparks in Ireland and 8 in the UK. Find the full list of Global Geoparks here
The four features that are fundamental prerequisites to becoming a Global Geopark according to UNESCO are:
In order to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, the area must have geological heritage of international value.
Geoparks are managed by a body that should be appropriately equipped to address the entire area and should include all relevant local and regional authorities. UNESCO Global Geoparks require a management plan, agreed upon by all the partners, that provides for the social and economic needs of the local populations, protects the landscape in which they live and conserves their cultural identity.
UNESCO Global Geoparks promote sustainable local economic development mainly through geotourism. In order to stimulate the tourism in the area, it is crucial that a UNESCO Global Geopark has visibility. Visitors as well as local people need to be able to find relevant information on the UNESCO Global Geopark. As such, UNESCO Global Geoparks need to provide information via a dedicated website, leaflets, and detailed map of the area that connects the area’s geological and other sites. A UNESCO Global Geopark should also have a corporate identity.
A UNESCO Global Geopark is not only about cooperation with the local people living in the UNESCO Global Geopark area, but also about cooperating with other UNESCO Global Geoparks through the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), and regional networks for UNESCO Global Geoparks such as the European Geoparks Network, in order to learn from each other and, as a network, improve the quality of the label UNESCO Global Geopark. Working together with international partners is the main reason for UNESCO Global Geoparks to be a member of an international network such as the GGN. Membership of the GGN is obligatory for UNESCO Global Geoparks. Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark are one of four members of the Transnational UNESCO Global Geopark Forum as it crosses an international boundary and are members of the UK and Irish National Geopark Fora.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet and recognise that there must be strategies to build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark remain committed to progressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create a better and brighter future for all.
The UN has identified 17 urgent call to action goals
The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet and recognise that there must be strategies to build economic growth and address needs including education, health, social protection, job opportunities, tackle climate change and environmental protection. Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark remain committed to progressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create a better and brighter future for all.
The Geopark is a refuge for amazing species, for incredible flora and fauna. It'...