A call for applications is now open until August 13, 2023.
UNESCO celebrates and protects the geological heritage of designated sites – including 93 properties inscribed under the World Heritage Convention, 195 UNESCO Global Geoparks and 714 Biosphere Reserves* – while promoting sustainable development and addressing challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. Many sites have received the UNESCO label for their geological heritage, but the effective management of this geoheritage remains a challenge. The finite and irreplaceable nature of geoheritage calls for appropriate conservation measures to ensure its preservation for future generations.
Site managers are often unfamiliar with scientific methods and best practices for geoheritage assessment, monitoring and management. In addition, the increase in tourist activities in these sites poses risks to the geoheritage, justifying advice to meet these challenges. Additionally, climate change-induced changes in weather patterns and sea level rise require new strategies to mitigate risks to geoheritage. Since geodiversity underpins biodiversity, it is crucial that UNESCO-designated site managers incorporate up-to-date developments on geodiversity into their management plans.
To respond to these pressing needs, the UNESCO International Geoscience and Geoparks Program Secretariat, in collaboration with the World Heritage Center and experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is organizing a workshop on geoheritage management on October 19 – 22, 2023In Azores Archipelago, Portugal. The workshop is aimed at staff and managers of World Heritage properties (designated under criterion viii) as well as other types of nationally or internationally designated areas (biosphere reserve, UNESCO Global Geopark, national park, etc. .) to discuss the following topics:
- Since 2010, UNESCO has received 35 World Heritage nominations under criterion (viii). Only 16 of them have been inscribed on the World Heritage List on the basis of this criterion and, unfortunately, a large number of nominations have failed to demonstrate their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) due to a lack of correctly characterize the geodiversity and geoheritage of the site;
- Growing tourist use of World Heritage properties and other conserved areas puts geoheritage at risk and site managers are asking for advice on how to deal with these risks;
- Due to climate change, climate change and sea level rise, site managers are asking for new methods to mitigate risks for the conservation and protection of geoheritage;
- Since geodiversity underpins biodiversity, UNESCO-designated site managers aim to include in their management plans appropriate measures to ensure that geodiversity continues to provide ecosystem services, but they are unfamiliar with new developments in geodiversity.
Eligible candidates will receive sponsorship from UNESCO for their participation in the workshop.
How to register
Eligible representatives of UNESCO-designated sites, as well as other types of conserved areas dealing with geoheritage management, should send the following documents to the International Geoscience and Geoparks Secretariat (IGGP) before August 13, 2023:
- A brief geological description of your site (500-1000 words)
- A cover letter explaining your expectations of the workshop and how it might help you set up a new geoheritage management plan and/or improve the existing geoheritage management plan for your site and deliver it (500-1000 words)
- Your CV
This call gives priority to interns from developing countries and UNESCO Member States. Women and early career participants are especially encouraged to apply.