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UNESCO Adds 18 New Geoparks to UNESCO Global Geoparks Network

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UNESCO endorses addition of 18 sites to Global Geoparks network

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO)’s Executive Board has approved the addition of 18 new sites situated in Brazil, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and Spain to the UNESCO Global Geoparks network.

  • Additionally, a transboundary geopark spans Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • With this, the total number of geoparks in the network becomes 213 geoparks in 48 countries.

Note: Among the 18 new sites, 6 sites including Mount Changbaishan Geopark are situated in China.

Newly designated UNESCO Global Geoparks:

S.NoUNESCO Global Geopark CountryPoint to note
1Schelde DeltaBelgium and Kingdom of the NetherlandsHold a unique geological position between the sinking North Sea Basin and the rising Brabant Massif.
2UberabaBrazilIt is situated in southeast Brazil within South America’s second-largest biome.
3Enshi Grand Canyon-Tenglongdong CaveChinaThe site, located in the southwest of Hubei Province, is a rich cultural heritage of the Tujia, Miao, and Dong ethnic minority groups.
4LinxiaChinaThe geopark, located in Gansu Province, features a landscape characterised by mid-high mountains, hills, and basins.
5LongyanChinaIt offers a geological record of tectonic evolution in southeast China covering a period of approximately 300 million years
6Mount ChangbaishanChinaThe site, located in the southeast Jilin Province, is one of the best-preserved composite volcanoes from the past several million year.
7WugongshanChinaIt is located in the junction of three cities, Pingxiang, Yichun, and Ji’an.
8XingyiChinaThe Wanfenglin site, located in Guizhou Province, displays more than 20,000 karst peaks
9Biokovo-Imotski LakesCroatiaThe Biokovo-Imotski Lakes are situated in central Dalmatia at the intersection of Mediterranean and Central European landscapes and cultures
10The South Fyn ArchipelagoDenmarkThis includes both terrestrial and marine zones that transcribe approximately 800,000 years of geological history.
11Impact Crater Lake – LappajärviFinlandIt is located in South Ostrobothnia in the west of Finland. It is recognised as Europe’s largest impact crater lake.
12ArmoriqueFranceThis includes vertical cliffs of the Crozon Peninsula, the Arrée Mountains, Brest Bay, and the River Aulne estuary.
13Normandie-MaineFranceThis offers remnants of a geological history spanning 600 million years including ancient megalithic sites.
14Meteora PyliGreeceThe site located in the Thessaly region is known for towering Meteora sandstone columns that reach heights of up to 300 meters.
15Bükk RegionHungarygeological environments and comprises a near-continuous sedimentary sequence spanning more than 300 million years.
16Land of Extinct VolcanoesPolandIt is a geological environments and comprises a near-continuous sedimentary sequence spanning more than 300 million years
17OestePortugalThe site located along Portugal’s central west coast includes over 72 km of Atlantic coastline, with more than 15 km of sandy beaches
18Calatrava Volcanoes. Ciudad RealSpainIt is situated in the southwest of the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, in central Spain.

Significance of UNESCO Global Geopark Designation:

i.Instituted in 2015, this designation acknowledges a geological heritage of global significance.

ii.Local Community Engagement: Geoparks benefit local communities by conserving geological heritage while promoting public outreach and sustainable development.

UNESCO’s Outreach Efforts:

i.UNESCO actively promotes the geopark concept in regions where it’s less prevalent, including Africa, the Arab States, and Small Island Developing States.

ii.This involves expert missions, tailored training sessions, and individual consultations to facilitate applications for UNESCO Global Geopark status.

Recent related News:

India has nominated the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes,’ a network of 12 forts across Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2024-25 under the category of ‘Cultural Sites.’

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France
Established in– 1945 (came into force in 1946)