"Geoparks aren't just an image of rocks - they are also an image of people. It is crucial that they get involved - we want to see as many people as possible getting involved in the geology of an area. Our goal is the increase of geotourism (...) to the benefit of the local economy and making people realise the evolution of their local landscape." (Chris Woodley-Stewart, geopark manager, North Pennines AONB, UK)
The first conference on Geoparks was held in Beijing, China, in June 2004.
In October 2004, the European Geoparks Network signed a contract with the Earth Sciences detachment of UNESCO for the processing of applications across Europe for the connection to the Global Geoparks Network. A contract has already been founded for Europe, which serves as a mechanism for the integration of national geoparks to the European Geoparks Network. New members that join the EGN automatically join the Global Geoparks Network.
The Network provides materials for active cooperation among Geoparks worldwide. Under the tutorship of UNESCO and through the exchange of partners of the GGN, important national geological places enhance the recognition and their use worldwide, and the exchange of knowledge, experience and other opportunities from other Geoparks.
In the frame of the Global Geoparks Network, the geological heritage is on the disposal of people and connected with the wider aspect of the natural and cultural legacy.
Currently, there are 100 Geoparks from 29 countries that are in the family of the GGN. The list can be found here, and they can be located with the help of the map beneath.
The members of the Global Geoparks Network: