Up until November 2015, UNESCO had an informal relationship with the global network of Geoparks; areas of outstanding geological interest which use their unique geology to drive community development and geo-tourism.
The UKNC has long been convinced that both UNESCO and the Global Geoparks stand to benefit from a closer, more formal relationship. With this in mind, in 2012, the UKNC produced a policy brief outlining eight key recommendations for UNESCO to consider regarding the future of its relationship with the Global Geoparks.
The UK government – through the UK Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, UK National Commission for UNESCO and the UK Global Geoparks Forum in partnership with other Member States – helped to lead the process for Global Geoparks to become a formal UNESCO designation. UNESCO Member States voted in favour of this decision at the 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2015. This is the first new UNESCO designation of its kind to be established in over 40 years and puts Global Geoparks alongside UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.