Application Process for aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks

© Vulkaneifel UNESCO Global Geopark
Vulkaneifel UNESCO Global Geopark, Germany

The UNESCO Global Geoparks Secretariat at UNESCO Headquarters coordinates the proposal submissions and is ready to provide advice. If existing in your country, National Geopark Committees may also be able to assist.

Successful UNESCO Global Geopark applications will have demonstrated that, already in the planning phase, they discussed and exchanged with other UNESCO Global Geoparks as well as the Global Geoparks Network (this usually starts several years before the actual submission of a dossier). It is important to seek advice in the preparation phase, participate in international or regional Geopark meetings, conferences, or short courses.

Before any formal application, any aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark must submit an expression of interest via the official channel as set out in the Statutes and Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks (.pdf). A comprehensive and carefully formatted application dossier (including supporting material to demonstrate that the area has already been functioning as a de facto Global Geopark for at least one year) must be submitted in the same way.

The aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark must have geological heritage of international value and be managed by a body having legal existence recognized under national legislation that has a comprehensive management plan, covering governance, development, communication, protection, infrastructure, finance, and partnership issues.

The aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks must be visible to both visitors and local people through a dedicated website, leaflets, and detailed map of the area that connects the area’s geological and other sites. An aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark must also have a corporate identity.

The timelines for UNESCO Global Geopark proposals and evaluation procedure are:

  • Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark sends a letter of intent, ideally by 1 July
  • Submission of applications between 1 October and 30 November
  • Verification check on completeness of documents after 1 December
  • Desktop evaluations until 30 April
  • Field evaluation missions starting 1 May
  • Recommendations on applications by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council in September
  • Decision by the Executive Board of UNESCO during its spring session

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