UNESCO Global Geoparks Council

The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council plays a crucial role in evaluating new and renewed UNESCO Global Geopark nominations. Its members determine whether new applications meet the required standards and can be forwarded the Executive Board of UNESCO for endorsement. Additionally, the council provides essential advice to the Director-General of UNESCO on the development and execution of strategy, planning, and implementation of UNESCO Global Geoparks.

Council members

The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council consists of twelve ordinary members who have voting rights. These individuals are appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO based on recommendations from the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and Member States. Additionally, the Council includes four ex officio members who do not vote, including the Director-General of UNESCO, the President of the GGN, the Secretary-General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and the Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or their representatives.

Ordinary members

Ordinary members are voting members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.

Mr Alireza Amrikazemi | Iran

Mr Amrikazemi has considerable experience in Geoparks across western, central, and southern Asia. He has over 20 years of professional expertise in geotourism, geoheritage, and geoparks, which he believes can promote social and political stability. In Iran, Mr Amrikazemi is the Head of the Geoheritage Department at the Geological Survey of Iran and has served as the Director of Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark since 2016. He has also been a member of the Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network Advisory Committee and has played a crucial role in promoting the UNESCO Global Geopark concept in Iran and the wider region, building capacity in the area with his efforts and expertise.
Mr Amrikazemi authored the first book of its kind at the time, ‘Geotourism Atlas of Qeshm Island’, published in 2004, which proposed the establishment of a geopark in Iran. He serves as a reviewer for the Geoheritage Journal and Geoconservation Journal globally. Additionally, he has been actively participating and presenting at conferences, workshops, seminars, delivering speeches, lectures, and attending discussions related to geoparks since 2004.

Mr Carles Canet | Mexico

Dr Canet is a distinguished researcher in Earth Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has conducted research in various fields of Earth Sciences, resulting in almost 100 scientific papers covering a broad range of topics, including mineral and geothermal resources, geochemistry and mineralogy, marine geology, environmental geology, and geological heritage. Furthermore, he has held management positions related to research at three different UNAM institutes, including Geophysics, Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change, and Geology.
Dr Canet has played an essential role in promoting UNESCO Global Geoparks in Mexico, particularly in the successful candidacy of Comarca Minera de Hidalgo, which was designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark in May 2017. Additionally, he was a founding member (in June 2017) and the first coordinator (2018-2019 biennium) of the Geoparks Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (GeoLAC Network). He has also provided guidance to various groups interested in establishing new geoparks, thus contributing to the development of the Geoparks programme in Mexico.
Apart from his extensive professional experience, Dr Canet is actively engaged in promoting the Geoparks concept in Mexico and the wider region. He founded and coordinated the Latin-American network of UNESCO Global Geoparks (GeoLAC, 2018-2019) and established the GeoLAC working group on gender equality, setting a standard for other regional networks. Furthermore, he has conducted capacity building activities in several events on behalf of UNESCO or GGN.

Ms Helga Chulepin | Uruguay

Helga Chulepin is a geologist, mining engineering specialist, and community relations developer. She graduated in 1996 and began working in the Geology Department of the Agriculture and Science Faculties at UDELAR in Uruguay, conducting geological research and mapping. Later, she worked as a mining consultant and specialist for environmental and social aspects in the mining industry, responsible for environmental and social impact assessment and sustainability advising on many projects. She has held management positions in several multinational companies. From 2012 to 2015, she served as the technical coordinator of the Grutas del Palacio UNESCO Global Geopark, the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Uruguay and second in Latin America, where she was the technical expert of the application dossier and the auditing process. Today, she collaborates as an external technical advisor and is an individual member of the Global Geoparks Network.

Mr Charalampos Fassoulas | Greece

Dr Charalampos Fassoulas is a geologist and the head curator of the Geodiversity department at the Natural History Museum of Crete. He is also a part of the Special Teaching Staff at the University of Crete and serves as the President of the Management Committee for Psiloritis Natural Park, a UNESCO Global Geopark located in Crete.
Dr Fassoulas obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Structural Geology in 1995 and has been working in research and teaching at the University of Crete since then. He has represented Psiloritis Geopark in the Coordination Committee of the European Geoparks Network (EGN) since 2001 and has carried out more than 20 evaluation missions for UNESCO Global Geoparks. He is one of the Senior Evaluators of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme.
Dr Fassoulas has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) for seven years and of the EGN Advisory for six years, where he served as the Vice-coordinator. He has also contributed as the GGN Vice-catalyst on the Geohazards Working Group and as a Catalyst on the EGN Geohazards and Intangible Heritage Working Groups. Additionally, he has been a member of the Geoparks Committee of the Greek National Commission for UNESCO and served as the coordinator of the Greek Geoparks Forum.

Mr Guy Martini | France

Guy Martini is a geologist with a background in anthropology. In the 1980s, he was one of the founders of the French National (and also international) movement for conservation in the Earth sciences. He was the President of the French Network of National Geological Reserves (1985-1995), a member of the Malvern Task Force, and the General Secretary of the first International Symposium on Geological Heritage Conservation, which is at the origin of the “International Declaration of the right of the Earth’s Memory” (1991).
In his work, Guy Martini is continually striving to connect territories with art, culture, sciences, and sustainable development. In this respect, he led one of the first European programmes dedicated to a policy on territorial sustainable economy (1994-1997), which is based on the promotion of local heritage and geological heritage. In 1996, after a meeting in China with Nicholas Zouros, he developed and led a first European Programme bringing together four European territories to experiment and develop the concept of Geoparks. This programme later allowed the launching of the European Geoparks Network (2001), leading to the successful development of UNESCO Global Geoparks.
In the history and evolution of UNESCO Global Geoparks’ development, Guy Martini is one of the main founding members. He has held a huge number of conferences, organized workshops and written numerous publications on Geoparks all over the world. He has actively supported the creation of many UNESCO Global Geoparks worldwide (South America, Africa, Asia, etc.). He is today the General Secretary of the Global Geoparks Network and chairperson of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.

Ms Martina Pásková | Czechia

Dr Martina Pásková is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Hradec Králové (Czechia). She received her PhD at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University in Prague (Czechia) in Political and Regional Geography in 2003. Her research domains are human geography, environmental studies, ethno-ecology and geo-anthropology, including topics of geoheritage interpretation, geotourism sustainability, geoparks management, and indigenous and local knowledge regarding nature and Earth. Dr Pásková is also working as an expert at the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, being in charge of geopark development and support, and is a member of the Czech Commission for UNESCO. She has been involved in the geoparks movement for nearly fourteen years.
From 2011 to 2013, she was a member of the Advisory Committee of the European Geoparks Network, and now she is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Global Geoparks Network. She is a member of the Committee on Environment of the Czech Academy of Science, Czech Society of Tourism Scientific Experts, Committee for Landscape, Water and Biodiversity in the Czech Republic Government Council for Sustainable Development, and Geoheritage Specialist Group (GSG) in IUCN-WCPA. She has also been popularising geosciences, geoheritage and geoparks in various media and serves as a reviewer for many scientific journals. Dr Pásková has actively participated in the development of the Latin American and Caribbean Geoparks Network. She served UNESCO as a mentor in one aspiring geopark in Peru and as a lecturer at the Latin American geoparks symposiums on Geoparks and Geoheritage held in Argentina (2013) as well as in Mexico (2015).

Ms Sarah Gamble | Canada

Ms Gamble has been involved with strategy, planning and implementation of UNESCO Global Geoparks, having been involved with the programme since 2012. Within Canada, Ms Gamble has significant experience through her roles of scientific advisor and subsequently Executive Director of the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark. She has been the President of the Canadian Geoparks Network (CGN) since 2021. She has served as a member of the CGN since 2012 and was its Vice President from 2019 to 2021. Ms. Gamble has made significant contributions to the work of the CGN, by leading the organization through the development of a strategic plan, encouraging its members to develop relationships with Indigenous Peoples, and by guiding several aspiring geoparks through the development of their application dossiers.
Internationally, Ms Gamble has participated in and presented at several international conferences about geoparks. She has also been a UNESCO Global Geopark evaluator since 2019 and has been selected by UNESCO to perform evaluation and revalidation missions in China and Southeast Asia. Ms Gamble has also collaborated with Indigenous colleagues in Canada and Mexico to work towards meaningful engagement of Indigenous Peoples in UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Ms Gamble is also an expert reviewer in the Canadian evaluation of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve’s periodic review. Her professional work in heritage project development, as an archaeologist and traditional use specialist, brings a deep understanding of the importance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Council.

Mr Setsuya Nakada | Japan

Professor Nakada is a renowned volcanologist and an esteemed academic who holds the position of director-general of the Center for Integrated Volcano Research at NIED, as well as being a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo. With years of fieldwork experience at active volcanoes across the globe, particularly in Japan and Indonesia, he has played an essential role in promoting and developing systematic and continuous observational research to advance the understanding of the intricate details of volcanic eruptions. Prof. Nakada’s research has received both domestic and international recognition, and he has received various prestigious awards, including the Volcanological Society of Japan Award, for his outstanding contributions to the field.
Currently, he serves as the chair of the Japan Geopark Committee (JGC), which is the Japanese National Committee for UNESCO Global Geoparks, and actively participates in the training and research activities to maintain and drive the activities of Geoparks in Japan. Furthermore, he has played a significant role in promoting and developing Geoparks worldwide, serving as the chair of the Advisory Committee of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) from 2016 to 2021 and currently serving as the vice coordinator of the Asian Pacific Geoparks Network (AGPN) since 2017. Prof. Nakada’s role as the chair of the JGC allows him to contribute actively to projects that promote UNESCO Global Geopark activities in Japan.

Ms Marie-Luise Frey | Germany

Dr Marie-Luise Frey, the managing director of the UNESCO Messel Pit World Heritage site in Germany, has been working closely with the UNESCO Global Geopark Bergstrasse-Odenwald since 2003. In 1992, she created the world’s first Geopark, “Gerolstein/Vulkaneifel, Germany.” She is one of the four founding members of the European Geoparks Network, which was launched in 2000.
Since changing her career to the Messel Pit World Heritage site 11 years ago, her focus has been on developing an exchange of experiences between World Heritage sites and Global Geoparks. Together with scientists, creative architects, and design partners, she implemented the new visitor centre at Messel Pit WHS in 2010. Her focal point areas for 17 years have been science and geoheritage transfer, interpretation, and communication in combination with education across geotourism.
Dr Frey’s engaged personality is demonstrated by the results of pedagogic and geotourism collaboration projects with UNESCO Global Geopark partners such as Naturtejo, Hong Kong, Lesvos, Vulkaneifel, and the UGGp Bergstraße-Odenwald. She is active in education and geotourism working groups of the European Geoparks Network and UNESCO Global Geoparks in collaboration with UNESCO World Heritage.
Dr Frey was a member of the Global Geoparks Bureau from 2004 until 2015, an external advisor of the European Geoparks Network since 2004, and an elected member of the Executive Board of the Global Geoparks Network since 2016. She has been long-term engaged in governance and networking events and has shown her experience in many evaluation and revalidation missions, supporting aspiring geoparks to find their way forward.
Her core vision is to serve the needs of future generations, promoting peaceful living for all humans in harmony with all organisms on our planet Earth.

Mr Van Tran Tan | Viet Nam

Prof Tran Tan Van is the Director of the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources and Head of the Technical Committee on Geoparks under Viet Nam’s National Commission for UNESCO. He holds a BSc in Geology from Azerbaijan State University in Bacu (former USSR) obtained in 1984, an MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) in 1994, and a D.Eng. in Geotechnical Engineering from Saitama University (Japan) in 1997. His research interests include karst geology, active tectonics, geohazards, geoheritage, and geoparks.
Prof Van has been actively promoting the geoparks initiative since 2004. He and his team helped develop the Dong Van Karst UNESCO Global Geopark in Northern Viet Nam, which was established in September 2009 and accepted into the Global Geopark Network (GGN) in October 2010. In 2012, Dr Van prepared a nationwide programme for geoheritage conservation and geopark development and management, which was approved by Viet Nam’s Prime Minister in September 2014. Since then, several aspiring geoparks have been established, including the Non Nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark in Northern Viet Nam, which became the second UNESCO Global Geopark of the country in 2018, and the Dak Nong UNESCO Global Geopark in Viet Nam Central Highlands, which became the countries third UNESCO Global Geopark in 2020. Several provinces in Northwestern and Southern Viet Nam are developing their geoparks.
Internationally, Prof Van regularly participates in Geoparks conferences and symposia since 2007 and is one of the founders of the Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN). Currently, he is a member of both the APGN and GGN Advisory Committees.

Mr Alexandru Andrasanu | Romania

Dr Alexandru Andrasanu is a Geobiologist by profession, with a specialisation in heritage conservation. He is an accomplished researcher and academic who currently holds the position of director at the only UNESCO Global Geopark in Romania, namely the Hateg Country Geopark.
Dr Andrasanu’s active engagement in expanding the network is evident from his prominent role in various international networking events. His strong commitment towards the cause of promoting geoparks is reflected in his relentless efforts to create greater awareness about their importance and unique features.
With his vast experience and extensive knowledge in the field, Dr Andrasanu is regarded as a key figure in the global geopark community. He continues to work towards enhancing the international cooperation and collaboration amongst geoparks, thereby contributing significantly towards the development and growth of the network.

Ms Gabriela Schneider | Namibia

Dr Gabi Schneider is the Executive Director of the Namibian Uranium Institute. She obtained her PhD from Frankfurt University, Germany, in 1984. In 1985, she joined the Geological Survey of Namibia where she served as Director from 1996 to 2016. Her professional experience spans economic and exploration geology, mineralogy, geo-conservation and geo-education, as well as management and administration.
Dr Schneider’s contributions to the field of geology are noteworthy. She is a member of the Committee for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Namibia, chairing the Commission’s technical subcommittee. Additionally, she served as a member of the Natural Science Programme Committee of the Namibian National Committee for UNESCO, member of the National Heritage Council of Namibia, and chaired its Scientific Committee. Dr Schneider also served as Senior Advisor for UNESCO’s Geopark Programme, councillor of IUGS, Senior Advisor for the UN International Year of Planet Earth, member of the Sustainable Development Council of Namibia, and as Vice Chairperson of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia.
Dr Schneider’s publications reflect her interests in geo-heritage/geo-conservation, having authored several books and co-authored many scientific papers in these fields. She has also contributed to the IGC publication on Africa’s Top Geological Sites and has been involved in the establishment of a geopark in Namibia.
Dr Schneider’s contributions have earned her recognition and honors. She served as president of the Organisation of African Geological Surveys and is a member of the Namibian Geoscience Council. She is an honorary life member of the Geological Society of Namibia and an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London. She is registered with the Namibian Geoscience Council and the South Africa Council for Natural Science Professions.

Ex officio members

Ex officio members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council do not vote.

UNESCO Director General (or their representative)

GGN president (or their representative)

IUGS Secretary-General (or their representative)

IUCN Director- General (or their representative)

Council meetings

The Council meets once a year during a regional or international conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks. 

8th session of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council
This session will be held in two meetings, in September and December 2023.

Meeting documents

Who can become a Council Member

Ordinary members shall be renowned experts selected for their demonstrated expertise, professional or scientific qualifications in relevant fields, with consideration for geographical distribution and gender parity. Their service shall be in an individual capacity, not as representatives of their respective nations or any other related organizations. They must certify that they possess no conflict of interest and pledge not to request or accept instructions from governments or other authorities.

A proficiency in English, including fluent spoken and comprehensive skills, is necessary.

To qualify for the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, candidates must fulfil at least two of the following criteria:

1. Must possess a minimum of six years of combined and proven professional experience in UNESCO Global Geopark development in a “green-card” UNESCO Global Geopark, across at least three of the areas listed below, or proven scientific or professional qualification in relevant fields, backed by a recognized higher education degree.

  • Geological heritage
  • Geoconservation and Environmental Management
  • Sustainable Development and Geotourism
  • Community engagement for the creation and management of UNESCO Global Geoparks
  • Public education and communication of geoscience
  • Capacity building on UNESCO Global Geoparks

2. Have been a member of the scientific committee of a UNESCO Global Geopark for at least six years.

3. Have been a member, for a minimum of two years of any of the following:

  • Global Geoparks Bureau
  • Asia Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN) – Advisory Committee
  • European Geoparks Network (EGN) – Advisory Committee
  • Latin America and Caribbean Geoparks Network (GeoLAC) – Advisory Committee
  • African UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (AUGGN) – Advisory Committee

4. Have served as a coordinator or secretary of a National Committee or of a UNESCO Global Geopark.

5. Have undertaken Geopark advisory missions or conducted relevant capacity building activities over the last four years on behalf of UNESCO and/or the Global Geoparks Network.

How to become a Council Member

The following documents should be sent directly to the UNESCO Global Geopark Secretariat (

  1. Completed application form and declaration regarding compliance with the IGGP Statutes and UNESCO Global Geoparks Operational Guidelines, and confirmation of no conflict of interest.
  2. Detailed CV.
  3. Cover letter outlining the candidate’s motivation and their added value to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.
  4. Supporting document from the Member State or the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) endorsing the candidate.

Call for Candidates

Application deadline: 22 April 2024

Typically, a call for applications is issued in the spring of even years (e.g. 2022, 2020, 2018, 2016)

Application Form

Council Terms of Reference