18.05.2021 - Turkish National Commission for UNESCO

Nature and Geopark Online Academy

The Turkish National Commission for UNESCO on the successful delivery of the 1st Nature and Geopark Online Academy on 26-28 April, 2021

During this 3-day online training course, organized in cooperation with the Turkish Association for Protection of Geological Heritage in Turkey (JEMİRKO an NGO focusing on the geological heritage), experts of the National Commission for UNESCO delivered presentations on the topics related to UNESCO’s International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) and UNESCO designated sites. Over 60 participants from Municipalities and Development Agencies in Turkey attended this first online event in Turkey focusing on the UNESCO Global Geopark concept. 

After the opening remarks and brief information about the meeting by the President of the National Commission’s Natural Sciences Committee, Prof. Nizamettin KAZANCI, the President of the National Commission, Prof. Mr. Öcal OĞUZ highlighted "UNESCO ideals and mandate, and the relation between culture and nature". This was followed by the presentation of the Secretary-General of the National Commission, Dr. Şule ÜRÜN on "UNESCO natural sciences programmes and conventions". 

Nature and Geopark Online Academy lectures started with the presentation of Prof. Zeki KAYA (Vice-President of the Natural Sciences Committee) with a focus on "Nature and designated sites: Ramsar Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Natural World Heritage Sites by providing national and international examples".  Further, Prof. Nazire ÖZGEN ERDEM (Member of the Geological Heritage and Geoparks Committee) covered a topic "Nature conservation and protection and related legal frame in Turkey and their connections with geo-tourism and rural development". 

On the second day of the training, April 27, 2021, Dr. Özlem ADIYAMAN LOPES  from UNESCO Earth Sciences and Geohazards Reduction Section spoke on "Earth sciences at UNESCO and their connections with the Geopark concept and its general principles" and Prof. Nizamettin KAZANCI presented on "Geopark site: definition, selection, theme and importance of geological features". In the afternoon session of the second day, Prof. Nazire ÖZGEN ERDEM and Prof. Nizamettin KAZANCI explored a topic “Essentials of geoparks; history, culture and social life” and "Establishment and management of geoparks". The second day of the course ended with extensive Q&A session with experts and participants. 

On the last day of the Academy Prof. Nizamettin KAZANCI presented on "Geoparks territory selection and preparation for the evaluation visit" and Prof. Tuncer DEMİR (Member of Geological Heritage and Geopark Monitoring Group) explained “UNESCO Global Geoparks application process and preliminary preparations" as well as "Procedures for Preparing Application Files for the International Geoparks". Prof. Tuncer DEMİR clarified UNESCO Secretariat’s self-evaluation checklist based on the quality criteria for UNESCO Global Geopark candidates (aUGGp) set out in the Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks, section 3 (viii) and  Self-Evaluation Checklist Explanatory Notes for Aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks (aUGGp), by providing examples from Kula-Salihli UNESCO Global Geopark.

Participants acknowledged that the course provided them with an opportunity to discover how UNESCO Global Geoparks can make an impact in their local communities to meet UN 2030 agenda and thanked the Turkish National Commission for the organization of this first online course. 

The Turkish National Commission for UNESCO will continue its efforts to promote UNESCO Global Geoparks concept in Turkey and neighbor countries in collaboration with UNESCO Secretariat.

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