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International Geoscience Programme - IGCP

Natural Sciences 2014/11-12 ・ 2332

In order to more closely reflect the societal challenges of Earth Science today and provide an international status to a former network of sites of geological significance, UNESCO’s General Conference approved, on 17 November 2015, the creation of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP). The IGGP comprises the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and the UNESCO Global Geoparks.


The International Geoscience Programme

The International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) promotes interdisciplinary geoscientific research among international researchers, through joint research work, meetings and workshops. IGCP brings together scientists from around the world, providing them with seed money to conduct joint international research and collectively publish the results. The Objectives of IGCP are to increase the understanding of the geoscientific factors and geological processes and concepts that affect the global environment in order to improve human living conditions. Furthermore improving standards, methods and techniques of carrying out geological research, specifically regarding transfer of geological and Geo-technological knowledge between industrialized and developing countries, as well as the development of more effective methods to sustainable exploit natural resources of minerals, energy and groundwater. Since its creation in 1972, IGCP has supported over 500 projects in about 150 countries.


UNESCO Global Geo-parks

UNESCO Global Geo-parks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development and promote sites of international geological value and are the basis of local sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. At present, there are 120 UNESCO Global Geo-parks in 33 countries. Information sheets on the UNESCO Global Geo-parks by country are available, with detailed information on each site.

UNESCO’s work with Geo-parks began in 2001. In 2004, 17 European and 8 Chinese Geo-parks came together at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to form the Global Geo-parks Network (GGN) where national geological heritage initiatives contribute to and benefit from their membership of a global network of exchange and cooperation. On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geo-parks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation. This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner. The Organization supports Member States’ efforts to establish UNESCO Global Geo-parks all around the world, in close collaboration with the Global Geo-parks Network. 

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