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Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp)


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How to become a geopark

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.

Do not apply if you feel you are not completely ready and use the checklist to check!

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 (year 1)
  • Submission of applications between 1 October and 30 November
  • Verification check on completeness of documents after 1 December
  • Desktop evaluations until 30 April (year 2)
  • 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 (year 3)

Transnational Geoparks 

In many cases, geological boundaries, shaped by rivers, mountain ranges, oceans and deserts, do not follow the boundaries drawn by people. UNESCO Global Geoparks, too, do not always follow human-made borders. Some UNESCO Global Geoparks therefore naturally cross national borders, connecting the peoples of different countries and encouraging intimate regional, cross-border cooperation. It is through this strong cross-border cooperation that transnational UNESCO Global Geoparks strengthen the relationship between countries and contribute to peacebuilding efforts. In 2008, the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark expanded from Northern Ireland across the border into the Republic of Ireland, becoming the world’s first transnational Global Geopark. Situated in a former conflict area, this UNESCO Global Geopark is now seen as a global model for peacebuilding and community cohesion. UNESCO actively supports the creation of transnational UNESCO Global Geoparks – especially in regions of the world where there are none yet.

Transnational UNESCO Global Geoparks:


Related documents for aspiring Geoparks

101 questions are a quick self-evaluation checklist based on the quality criteria for UNESCO Global Geopark candidates (aUGGp) set out in the Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks, section 3 (viii).

The checklist and explanatory notes are intended as a quick and easy dashboard to measure the preparedness of an aspiring site on a regular basis and do not replace the application file and Form A.


Regular short courses, trainings and mentorship and knowledge exchange programme

In cooperation with the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and other partners or sponsors, UNESCO co-organizes trainings, in order to permit people working for future UNESCO Global Geopark candidates to enhance their understanding of the overall concept and the application process.

  • Lesvos intensive course: usually takes place in Summer on the island of Lesvos, Greece, hosted by the Lesvos Island UNESCO Global Geopark, among one of the oldest Geoparks.
  • Beijing International Course on UNESCO Global Geoparks: organized by the China University of Geosciences Beijing, China: usually takes place in autumn/winter,
  • Langkawi Regional Course on UNESCO Global Geoparks is held annually by the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark, Malaysia
  • Other workshops are organized regularly throughout the year in other regions of the world
  • Mentorship and knowledge exchange programme:


Regional network activities and conferences

The regional conferences organized by the regional networks of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) provide the opportunities for all who want to know more about the Geoparks philosophy and concept to participate and meet and exchange with the existing UNESCO Global Geoparks and also present their own projects.


Related documents for evaluators (evaluation missions)


Application Process for aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks: maps

Please use one of the maps below for localization in the application dossier and to fill in your 1-page geological and geographical summary template (doc).


For further information please contact: