Even if an area has outstanding, world-famous geological heritage of outstanding universal value it cannot be a Global Geopark unless the area also has a plan for the sustainable development of the people who live there. This development may take the form of sustainable tourism through, for example, the development of walking or cycling trails, training of local people to act as guides, encouraging tourism and accommodation providers to follow international best practice in environmental sustainability.

But it can also be about simply engaging with local people and respecting their traditional way of life in a way that empowers them and respects their human rights and dignity. Unless a Global Geopark has the support of local people it will not succeed.

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It is a pre-requisite that all Global Geoparks develop and operate educational programmes at a range of levels to spread awareness of our geological heritage and it's links to other aspects of our natural, cultural and intangible heritages. Many Global Geoparks offer formal educational programs for schools or offer special activities for children though "Kids Clubs" or special "Fossil Fun Days". Many Global Geoparks also offer education, both formal and informal, for adults and retired people while many provide training for local people who can then, in turn, teach others.

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Preservation & Conservation

Global Geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies among local communities. Geoparks hold records of past climate change and are educators on current climate change as well as adopting a best practices approach to utilizing renewable energy and employing the best standards of “green tourism.”  

Geoparks also inform about the sustainable use and need for natural resources, whether they are mined, quarried or harnessed from the surrounding environment while at the same time promoting respect for the environment and the integrity of the landscape. Geoparks are not a legislative designation though the key heritage sites within a Geopark should be protected under local, regional or national legislation as appropriate.

Through education commitments geoparks strive to educate their communities about the earth and how we interact with it.

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Global Geoparks are special areas where the geological heritage, or geodiversity, is of international importance. Global Geoparks are thus encouraged to work with academic institutions to engage in active scientific research in the Earth Sciences, and other disciplines as appropriate, to advance our knowledge about the Earth and it's processes.

A Global Geopark is not a museum; it is an active laboratory where people can become engaged in science from the highest academic research level to the level of the curious visitor.

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