In October 2010 Dong Van Karst Plateau was recognized as the first Global Geopark in Viet Nam. Geoparks such as Dong Van are nationally protected areas recognized for their geological value and present a three-fold model of sustainable development that promotes conservation, environmental education and geotourism. To date, the Global Geopark Network has recognized 77 geoparks in 25 countries.
Global Geoparks have significant potential to bring sustainable development opportunities to vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. This topic was one of the main themes of the Second Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network Symposium, held in Ha Noi in July 2011. Over 400 national and international delegates attended the symposium to discuss contributions of Geoparks and geotourism to conservation and development in the Asia-Pacific region. The symposium also sought to foster exchange and coordination among members of the Global Geopark Network, the Asia-Pacific Geopark Network and the European Geopark Network. The Ha Noi Declaration on Geopark Development and Management was announced at the conclusion of the symposium.