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International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP)

© Jon Paul Llordés
Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, Spain

The Earth sciences provide us with invaluable knowledge about the Earth, its systems and its 4.6 billion year history. This knowledge is essential for responding to present-day challenges of human society, such as preserving our Earth’s resources for future generations, mitigating the impact of global warming and mitigating the risks of geological hazards.

UNESCO is the only United Nations organization with a mandate to support research and capacity in Earth Sciences and the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme is our flagship.

The International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) consists of two pillars:

1. International Geoscience Programme (IGCP), since 1972, has harnessed the intellectual capacity of a worldwide network of geoscientists to lay the foundation for our planet’s future, focusing on responsible and environmental resource extraction, natural hazard resiliency and preparedness, and adaptability in the era of a changing climate.

2. UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) are laboratories for sustainable development which promote the recognition and management of Earth heritage, and the sustainability of local communities. As of April 2019, there are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks within 41 Member States, covering a total area of 288,000 km².

Following of the endorsement of the Member States, UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) is implemented through two co-operative ventures with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and the Global Geoparks Network. IGCP and UGGp Councils coordinate their work through a shared UNESCO Secretariat and joint coordination meetings of their respective bureau which convene as necessary. The chairpersons of the two respective Councils co-chair the IGGP.

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