At its virtual meeting on 7–9 December 2022, the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council decided to forward 11 nominations out of 15 to the Executive Board of UNESCO for endorsement as new UNESCO Global Geoparks. At the Council’s first meeting in September this year, it had forwarded a further seven nominations to the Executive Board. This means that the Board will be examining 18 nominations in all at its next session in May 2023.
The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council has proposed the following 11 nominations for designation by UNESCO, including two applications from the UK and Greece, respectively, that had been deferred from 2021:
- Jeonbuk West Coast aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Republic of Korea
- Hakusan Tedorigawa aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- Merangin Jambi aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Indonesia
- Rajah Ampat aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Indonesia
- Tabas aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Iran
- Sunnhordland aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Norway
- Cabo Ortegal aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Spain
- Caçapava aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Brazil
- Quarta Colonia aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Brazil
- Mourne Guillion Strangford aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, UK
- Lavreotiki aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, Greece
In all, the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council assessed 15 applications in December. It also approved a request from Kütralkura UNESCO Global Geopark in Chile to extend its surface area by more than 10%.
The December meeting was the second of two statutory meetings which comprised the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council’s statutory seventh session. The Council had first met this year in Satun UNESCO Global UNESCO Geopark in Thailand on 4 and 5 September 2022. At the time, the Council had extended its special appreciation to the Kingdom of Thailand for facilitating and hosting this Council meeting.
Fifteen UNESCO Global Geoparks revalidated and extended
On account of delays in the evaluation process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council was called upon, in December, to consider all the proposals to revalidate and extend existing UNESCO Global Geoparks that had been submitted since 2019.
Of the 15 proposals submitted over the 2019–2022 period, the Council granted a green card to 14 (see box) and gave one proposal a yellow card. A green card denotes renewal of the UNESCO Global Geopark label for four years, whereas a yellow card restricts this renewal period of two years, in order to give the geopark time to address the Council’s recommendations.
2019, 2020 and 2021
- Cheongsong UNESCO Global Geopark, Republic of Korea
- Mudeungsan UNESCO Global Geopark, Republic of Korea
- Izu Peninsula UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- Non Nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark, Vietnam
- Dong Van Karst Plateau UNESCO Global Geopark, Vietnam
- Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark, Republic of Korea
- Aso UNESCO Global Geopark, Japan
- El Hierro UNESCO Global Geopark, Spain
- Odsherred UNESCO Global Geopark, Denmark
- Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark, Canada
- Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark, Canada
Key numbers from the first and second meetings of the 7th Session of the UNESCO Global Geopark Council
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed in a holistic concept blending protection, education and sustainable development. UNESCO Global Geoparks apply a bottom-up approach, combining conservation with sustainable development with the involvement of local communities. The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council is responsible for assessing proposals for new UNESCO Global Geoparks, as well as for revalidating existing UNESCO Global Geoparks. Those proposals for additions to the network that are approved by the Council are then submitted to the Executive Board of UNESCO for endorsement.
Should the UNESCO Executive Board decide, in May 2023, to endorse the 18 recommendations made by the Council at its twin meetings in September and December 2022, this would bring the total number of sites in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network to 195 in 48 countries, up from 177 in 46 countries. The two newcomers to the network would be New Zealand and the Philippines, whose applications were endorsed by the Council in September 2022.
In accordance with Sections 2.10 and 5.5 of the Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks, the Council shall present a report on its work and decisions to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Bureau in January 2023. This report will then be circulated to Member States and Associate Member States of UNESCO.