UNESCO Global Geoparks & Geoconservation

© UNESCO/Margarete Patzak
Geoconservation at Lesvos UNESCO Global Geopark, Greece

UNESCO Global Geoparks are areas that use the concept of sustainability, value the heritage of Mother Earth and recognize the need to protect it. The defining geological sites in UNESCO Global Geoparks are protected by indigenous, local, regional and/or national law and management authorities, in cooperation with the appropriate agencies, which allow for the necessary monitoring and maintenance of these sites. Appropriate protection measures for each site are set out in individual site management plans. The management body of a UNESCO Global Geopark will also not participate directly in the sale of geological objects such as fossils, minerals, polished rocks and ornamental rocks of the type normally found in so-called “rock-shops” within the area, and many actively discourage unsustainable trade in
geological materials as a whole. It does not refer to material for normal industrial and household use which is sourced by quarrying and/or mining and which will be subject to regulation under national and/or international legislation.

Under certain circumstances and where clearly justified as a responsible activity the management body may permit sustainable collecting of geological materials for scientific and educational purposes from naturally renewable sites within the UNESCO Global Geopark. Trade of geological materials (in accordance with national legislation on Earth heritage conservation) based on such a system may be tolerated in exceptional circumstances, provided it is clearly and publicly explained, justified and monitored as the best option for the UNESCO Global Geopark in relation to local circumstances. Such circumstances will be subject to debate and approval on a case by case basis.

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