What is a geo-park
The best definition of a Geo-park, perhaps, is an inhabited territory, with significant geological heritage of scientific value, uniqueness or educational merit, besides other cultural and natural heritage elements. These territorial values are managed using a strategy tried and tested in 30 different countries, which is based on local sustainable development. For these reasons, a geo-park is not just a geological park or another figure of territorial protection, nor does it signify more restrictions on economic development. It is considered to be a new model for socio-economic development in rural areas.
A Geo-Park is much more than just geology. The difference of a geo-park from other types of territories is that the geo-park has coordinated management, with all the social and economic agents working together, to make a direct impact on the territory by improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area and the environment in general. It should play an active role in the economic development of the territory based on, among other things, promotion of geological heritage, geo-tourism and local products made by SMEs. Apart from the perspective of the management of the territory itself, the Geo-parks work intensely on foreign promotion. The territory set up as a Geo-park joins a European and world network. The European Geo-park Network or EGN is a specialized network that allows for exchange of experiences and best practice and where members give each other mutual support in the pursuit of their objectives. Each territory must work towards development and cohesion of the network, trying to complement one another and contributing their best to achieve a common brand of quality, maintaining the prestige and international recognition of the network. The Geoparks aspire to being a bridge between a place, its heritage and its inhabitants by offering an element where people can connect with their environment, something of vital importance, bearing in mind the challenges to be faced in the future, as a civilization. Geoparks are considered to be a significant novelty, as “new territories of the XXIst century”, expanding over the world under the auspices of UNESCO. There are more than 85 geoparks in the Global Geoparks Network (GGN).