The global geoparks network

The story of a good idea


  1. The Global Geoparks Network is our common workplace; a huge family made up of 169 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 44 countries. They are the pieces of a puzzle that grows every year and that little by little shows the history of the Earth as you had never known it before. Great mountains, active volcanoes, glaciers, immeasurable deserts or stunning cliffs are just some of the attractions that form this extraordinary and diverse collection of destinations where the Earth and its inhabitants are the protagonists.

    The first steps to form the network took place in the year 2000. The Petrified Forest of Lesbos (Greece), the area of ancient volcanoes of Vulkaneifel (Germany), the pre-alpine reliefs of the Haute Provence (France) and the Cultural Park of Maestrazgo (Spain) met in the municipality of Molinos, Teruel, to formalize the birth of the European Geoparks Network (EGN), a novel concept that proposed to use the geological heritage for the development of local communities. Science, education, conservation and geotourism became a tool to boost the identity and the economic activity of the territories.

    Nobody imagined in the year 2000 that this network would be today one of the most successful international cooperation programs of recent decades. That good idea was adding allies and in 2004 it already had 21 geoparks distributed in 9 countries, including China. On this base, the GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK (GGN) was founded, a non-profit association whose main objective is the interconnection of its partners as a key tool for the improvement of each one of them. The GGN, its regional networks and its national forums organize several meetings and congresses every year where participation is mandatory. Each geopark participate in different work groups that aim to shed light on key issues such as education, communication or geological risks. Together we add experiences and learn to manage our territories in a more intelligent way. Together we make up a destination that is increasingly attractive and constantly improving.



    It is not by chance. Spain is the second country in the world with the largest number of Geoparks: fifteen. Our country has an orography and a spectacular geology that has profoundly conditioned the customs, traditions and history of the people.

    What does a fisherman from the Calm Sea of El Hierro Island have in common with a salt-water fisherman from Cabo de Gata in Almeria, an olive farmer from Cordoba’s Subbéticas and a shepherd from the forgotten mountain of Palencia? All of them produce quality products, have roots in the land and live in a geopark where geology has totally conditioned their way of life.

    The Spanish Geoparks are a surprising destination that allows us to travel through time and understand that our history and our culture are totally linked to a history of millions of years. We can walk through the Cambrian paleokarst of Cerro del Hierro in Sierra Norte de Sevilla; imagine the mountain ranges of the supercontinent Pangea in Villuercas-Ibores-Jara and in Molina Alto Tajo or submerge in the deep seas of the Basque Coast flysch to touch with your fingers the thin black layer that registered the great extinction of the dinosaurs, 66 Ma ago.

    Geoparks allow us to understand the evolution of the landscape and understand the magnitude of challenges such as climate change through overwhelming experiences: treading the volcanic landscape of the Tierra de Fuego of Lanzarote, walking through the remains of the delta that today wants to touch the sky in Monserrat or feel the icy air of the last glaciers of the Pyrenees are just some of the innovative proposals offered by the Spanish geoparks.

    Do not hesitate. The experience is worth it. Be surprised by the authentic. Let time pass slowly.

  3. UNESCO and GGN

    The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) is a non-profit International Association officially established in 2014 subject to French legislation. The Global Geoparks Network is the official partner of UNESCO for the operation of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.

    The GGN was initially founded in 2004 as an international partnership developed under the umbrella of UNESCO and serves to develop models of best practice and set quality-standards for territories that integrate the protection preservation of Earth heritage sites in a strategy for regional sustainable economic development. Networking and collaboration among Global Geoparks is an important component of the Global Geoparks Network.

    The Global Geoparks Network promotes networking on a regional basis. For Global Geoparks in Asia – Pacific the Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN) acts as the Regional Network of the GGN. For Global Geoparks in Europe, the European Geoparks Network (EGN) acts as the Regional Network of the GGN. For Global Geoparks in Latin America and Caribbean, the Latin American and Caribbean Geoparks Network acts as the as the Regional Network of the GGN. The GGN prioritizes the creation of similar Regional Networks, reflecting local conditions, elsewhere in the world.

    All the UNESCO Global Geoparks are members of the GGN.