15 September 2011 A glacier-covered volcano in Iceland, a mountainous headland in Japan and a mineral-rich outcrop in Brazil are among 16 new sites being examined this week for admission to the United Nations-backed Global Network of National Geoparks.
Created under the aegis of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2004, the network currently numbers 78 sites in 26 countries. The 16 new applications will be examined by the Bureau of the Global Geopark Network at a three-day beginning tomorrow in Norway’s Gea Norwegica Geopark.
To qualify for the geopark label, sites must present important geological heritage, and benefit from a sound management structure and economic development strategy with particular emphasis on sustainable tourism.
The 16 candidates are: Carnic Alps (Austria), Bodoquena-Pantanal (Brazil), Quadrilatero Ferrifero (Brazil), Hong Kong park (China), Tianzhushan (China), the parks of Bauges (France), Chablais park (France), Katla (Iceland), Batur (Indonesia), Pacitan (Indonesia), Aras (Iran), Burren and Cliffs of Moher (Ireland), Alpi Apuane (Italy), Muroto (Japan), Sierra Norte di Sevilla Geopark (Spain), Villuercas Ibores Jara (Spain).
Last year the Bureau added 11 new sites ranging from subterranean rivers in China and Ice-Age-shaped landscapes in Finland to volcanic Jeju island in the Republic of Korea and mountainous landscapes, cave formations and coastal features in Italy’s Apennine Mountains.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue