- [GEOPARK EVALUATION-REVALIDATION DOCUMENTS]
- 1. WHAT IS A GLOBAL GEOPARK?
The Geopark concept arose in the mid-1990’s as a response to the need to conserve and enhance the value of areas of geological significance in Earth history. Landscapes and geological formations are key witnesses to the evolution of our planet and determinants for our future sustainable development. From the outset, Geoparks adopted a “bottom-up” or community-led approach to ensure that an area’s geological significance could be conserved and promoted for science and education, in addition to being used as a sustainable economic asset such as through the development of responsible tourism.
- 2. WHEN WAS THE GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK ESTABLISHED?
In 2004, with the support of UNESCO, 17 members of the European Geoparks Network and 8 Chinese Geoparks came together to create the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) which, with then more than 111 Global Geoparks as members, acquired legal status in 2014. The GGN was founded as an international partnership developed under the umbrella of UNESCO and serves to develop models of best practice and set quality-standards for territories that integrate the protection preservation of Earth heritage sites in a strategy for regional sustainable economic development. Networking and collaboration among Global Geoparks is an important component of the GGN.
- 3. WHICH IS THE MISSION OF THE GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK?
The GGN is the international organisation of the Global Geoparks and Global Geopark professionals which is committed to the conservation, management and communication to society of the Earth heritage as an integral part of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, tangible and intangible.
Global Geoparks are tools to conserve and enhance the value of areas of geological significance in Earth history, including landscapes and geological formations, which are key witnesses to the evolution of our planet and determinants for our future and to promote sustainable development for example through geo-tourism and education.
Global Geoparks are living, working landscapes where science and local communities engage in a mutually beneficial and safe way.
Global Geoparks encourage awareness of the story of the planet as read in the rocks and landscape.
Global Geoparks promote the links between geological heritage and all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, clearly demonstrating that geodiversity is the foundation of all ecosystems and the basis of human interaction with the landscape.
- 4. WHAT ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK?
The objectives of the GGN are:
- to promote the equitable geographical establishment, development and professional management of Global Geoparks,
- to advance knowledge and understanding of the nature, function and role of Global Geoparks;
- to assist local communities to value their natural and cultural heritage;
- to preserve Earth heritage for present and future generations;
- to educate and teach the broad public about issues in geo-sciences and their relation with environmental matters and natural hazards.
- to ensure sustainable socio-economic and cultural development on the natural (or geological) system
- to foster multi-cultural links between heritage and conservation and the maintenance of geological and cultural diversity, using participatory schemes of partnership and management;
- to stimulate research when appropriate;
- to promote joint initiatives between Global Geoparks (e.g. communication, publications, exchange of information, twinning).
- 5. HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM MEMBERSHIP OF THE GGN?
Members of the Network are entitled to use the registered “Global Geopark” brand as a mark of quality. Members benefit from the use of common promotional tools (i.e. website, magazine etc…) and have a forum for finding new partners for international co-operation, exchange of experience and for seeking funding. It is important that all members participate as active members of the Network.
- 6. HOW IS THE WORK OF THE NETWORK FINANCED?
The activities of the Network are financed by the individual members (see item 25). Members also seek funding for new initiatives and activities through EU funding programfund raising.
- 7. WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL ACTIVITIES OF A GLOBAL GEOPARK?
There is a variety of activities that can be considered typical of a Geopark. Most are either geotourism or educational-based, including schools programmes, guided walks and museum exhibitions. Geological heritage protection and promotional activities are also essential activities of a geopark. Socio-economic activities in geoparks are important for sustainable regional development. Geoparks adopt a holistic approach to their heritage and promote all aspects of their region’s natural and cultural heritage.
Every year, GGN members submit an Annual Report which includes the main achievements of the previous year and is published through the GGN website.
- 8. WHAT KIND OF ORGANISATION IS THE GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK?
The GGN is a non-profit organisation subject to French legislation (the 1901 law on associations) and a non-governmental organisation maintaining formal relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
- 9. IS THERE A SUBSCRIPTION FEE and ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEE FOR NETWORK MEMBERS?
There is no subscription fee for Network members.
The annual membership fee for the Institutional members is 2000€, which includes an annual contribution to UNESCO (1000 $).
The annual fee for the Individual members is 100€.
Members however, incur costs by attending meetings and actively working within the Network.
- 10. WHAT KIND OF MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES GGN HAS?
GGN has the following membership categories
- Institutional Members — Global Geoparks.
- Individual Members – Global Geopark Professionals — Persons who have combined or proved professional experience in Global Geopark management (geological heritage, sustainable development, tourism development and promotion, and environmental issues)1.
- Honorary Members — Persons who have rendered exceptional services to the international Global Geopark community or to the GGN.
- Cooperating Members — International Organizations, institutions or persons providing substantial financial or other assistance to the GGN because of an interest in Global Geoparks and international co-operation between Global Geoparks.
- 11. HOW CAN I APPLY TO BECOME A MEMBER?
Visit the section JOIN GGN at this website.
- 12. WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF GGN?
The GGN is composed as follows:
- General Assembly
- Executive Board
- Two Vice-Presidents
- General Secretary
- Advisory Committee
- National Geopark Fora / Committees
- National Correspondents
- International Committees / Task Forces / Working groups
- International Conference on Geoparks
- Regional Geopark Networks
- Affiliated Organisations
- Operational Secretariat
- 13. WHICH IS THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF GGN?
The primary authority of the GGN resides through its Members. The General Assembly is the legislative body of the GGN. The General Assembly consists of all individual, supporting, and honorary members and the designated representatives of institutional members. The General Assembly will hold an ordinary session at least once every two years on the same dates and in the same place as the International Conference on Geoparks.
The Executive Board, composed of Institutional Member representatives and Individual members elected by the General Assembly, is responsible for the managerial aspects of the GGN.
The Advisory Committee, composed of the Chairpersons of National Committees and designated representatives from Affiliated Organisations, has an advisory role to represent its membership in the activities of the GGN.
- 14. WHAT IS GGN EXECUTIVE BORD AND WHAT IS IT’S JOB?
The Executive Board is the decision making body of the GGN.
It consists of not less than nine (9) and not more than fifteen (15) elected members, as well as the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee and a UNESCO Secretariat representative as ex-officio members.
The Executive Board elected members consists of:
- One elected representative from each Regional Geoparks Network having up to 20 members.
- Two elected representatives for each Regional Geoparks Network having more than 20 members.
- Three (3) to five (5) Global Geopark Professionals nominated due to their professional curricula, elected by the General Assembly.
The members of the Executive Board are elected by the Ordinary General Assembly and serve a four (4)-year term of office.
Members of the Executive Board may serve not more than three (3) consecutive terms, if elected.
- 15. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE REGIONAL GEOPARK NETWORKS WITHIN GGN?
Recognising the very strong role networking has played in the success of the Global Geoparks movement and recognizing the valuable role it plays in facilitating the sharing of experience, formation of joint initiatives and projects and the highly significant role it plays in capacity-building, the GGN will encourage the strengthening of Regional Geopark Networks
Regional Geopark Networks include GGN members at a regional or continental level.
Regional Geopark Networks serve for the coordination of GGN activities at a regional or continental level and as fora for the exchange of information and co-operation between Global Geoparks and Global Geopark professionals in the region.
The activities of Regional Geopark Networks include the organisation of Regional Geopark Conferences, workshops and seminars, capacity building activities, common projects, promotional activities and common publications.
Each Geopark Network forms a Coordination Commission which is the governing body of the Regional Network and elects two Coordinators and an Advisory Committee according to the Regional Geopark Network Rules of operation.
All Regional Geopark Networks shall submit an Annual Report of Activities to the GGN Executive Board.
- 16. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE GGN AFFIATED ORGANIZATIONS?
The GGN grand affiliated status to an international organisation having cognate interests, provided the aims, objects and constitution of such associations are compatible with those of the GGN.
The relations with the affiliated organizations may have a thematic or a regional character. Affiliated Organisations’ activities will conform to the Rules for Affiliated Organisations.
The GGN Executive Board having determined that the Statutes of the Association proposed for affiliation satisfy these conditions, shall recommend to the General Assembly that affiliation be granted.
The affiliation terminates when the General Assembly of the GGN or the Affiliated Organisation so decides and the other organization has been duly informed.
All Affiliated Organisations shall submit an Annual Report of Activities to the GGN Executive Board.
- 17. HAS A GLOBAL GEOPARK A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM SIZE?
According to the Network’s guidelines, a Global Geopark must have a sufficiently large surface area to support a sustainable development strategy. It must have a clearly defined single boundary and it must be managed by a clearly defined management structure.
- 18. IS THE PERIOD OF MEMBERSHIP OF THE NETWORK LIMITED?
Membership of the Global Geoparks Network is limited to a period of four years for the Institutional members. After that, membership is re-evaluated. A list of re-evaluation criteria is available, though it is crucial that geoparks participate as active members of the Network to ensure continuing membership. If, following the revalidation exercise it is found that the geopark under consideration is operating fully and strongly as a member of the GGN, it will be awarded a “green card” and its membership of the GGN will be renewed for a further four year period. If, however, some problem has been identified , the GGN may decide to award that territory a “yellow card’ and its membership of the GGN will be renewed for a two year period. Following the two year period a further revalidation exercise will be carried out which can either result in a “green card” if everything is found to be satisfactory again, or a “red card” should the original problem remain unresolved. In the latter instance, the territory will loose its membership of the GGN.
- 19. IS THE NUMBER OF GEOPARKS WITHIN THE NETWORK LIMITED?
No, currently there is no limit. The important issue is the quality of the territories and their work.
- 20. IS THE NUMBER OF GLOBAL GEOPARKS WITHIN ANY ONE COUNTRY LIMITED?
No, not at present, but national representation might be limited in the future.
- 21. WHAT IS A GGN International Committee / Task Force / Working Group
A GGN International Committee / Task Force / Working Group may be authorised by the Executive Board to implement programmes and activities, and to serve as a channel of communication between members of the GGN with similar scientific and professional interests. International Committees’ activities will conform to the Rules for International Committees / Task Forces / Working Groups.
GGN International Committee / Task Force / Working Group should submit periodically a report on their activities to the the GGN Executive Board.
- 22. ARE THERE ANY STATUTORY RESTRICTIONS ATTACHED TO BEING A MEMBER OF THE GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK?
No. The Global Geopark designation does not imply any level of protection or restriction within a geopark’s territory. Such measures can only ensue from national legislation.
- 23. IS THE COLLECTING OF ORIGINAL GEOLOGICAL MATERIAL (E.G. ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS) PERMITTED WITHIN A GEOPARK?
Collection of original geological material is not permitted within a Geopark without a special written permission by the Geopark management Authority. Collecting of original geological material is permitted within a Geopark provided that is done in a sustainable manner or for scientific / educational purposes AND that it is carried out under scientific supervision and in accordance local legislation.
- 24. IS THE SELLING OF ORIGINAL GEOLOGICAL MATERIAL (E.G. ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS) PERMITTED WITHIN A GEOPARK?
No, the selling or destruction of the geological value of a Geopark or of material either from within the Geopark or from anywhere else in the world by organisations that form part of the Geopark structure and/or are permitted to use the Global Geoparks brand is not permitted. Precise details concerning this aspect of the Statutes is available upon request, but typically it refers to fossils, polished rocks and mineral specimens of the type normally found in so-called “rock shops.” It does not refer to quarried or mined material for industrial or domestic use that is quarried or mined under national legislation.
- 25. WHAT ARE THE ANNUAL COSTS INVOLVED IN BEING A MEMBER OF THE GGN?
The cost of members travelling to and accommodation during the GGN General assembly, Regional meetings, International Geopark Conference, Regional Geopark Conferences, Workshops and Capacity building courses is borne by the individual members themselves.
The GGN General assembly meets every two years (parallel to the International Geoparks Conference) and the participation by a representative from each geopark at all meetings is obligatory.
Each Institutional member has also to cover an annual membership fee (€1500)
Each Global Geopark must also cover the cost of travelling and accommodation for the two experts who will carry out the revalidation mission of the territory every four years (or two years in the case of yellow card).
- 26. DOES THE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION COST ANYTHING?
No, however, as part of the application preparation any potential new member may wish to invite an advisory mission from the Global Geoparks Network to their territory and the costs of such a visit should be borne by the inviting territory.
The nominating territory also has to cover the cost of travelling and accommodation for the two experts who are going to carry out the evaluation mission in the territory.
- 27. DOES THE GEOPARKS NETWORK PROVIDE TRAINING COURSES?
The GGN organizes annually an Intensive Course on Geoparks which focuses on geoconservation, geopark management and operation, geotourism development, educational activities and local development.
Other capacity building activities are organized under the auspices of GGN. The theme and location is announced at the GGN website