Call for participation: workshop on geoheritage management in UNESCO designated sites

Azores Archipelago, Portugal

UNESCO, with its unique mandate in Earth Sciences, plays a vital role in promoting a sustainable world, with geoscience at the core of its mission. A workshop on geoheritage management in UNESCO designated sites will be held on 19 – 22 October 2023 for personnel working with current or aspiring natural UNESCO designated sites.

Workshop details

To address these pressing needs, the UNESCO International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme Secretariat, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and experts  from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is holding a workshop on Geoheritage Management on 19 – 22 October 2023, in Azores Archipelago, Portugal. The workshop is for staff and managers of World Heritage properties (designated under criterion viii) as well as other type of nationally or internationally designated areas (biosphere reserve, UNESCO Global Geopark, national park, etc. ) to address the following topics:

  • Since 2010, UNESCO received 35 World Heritage nominations under criterion (viii). Only 16 of them were inscribed on the World Heritage List based on this criterion and unfortunately high number of nominations failed to demonstrate their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) due to not being able to properly characterise the geodiversity and geoheritage of the site;
  • Increasing touristic use of World Heritage properties and other conserved areas is putting geoheritage at risk and site managers are asking guidance to address these risks;
  • Due to climate change, weather patterns change and sea level rise, site managers are asking new methods to mitigate risks for geoheritage conservation and protection;
  • As geodiversity underpins biodiversity, UNESCO designated site managers aim to include in their management plans appropriate measures to guarantee that geodiversity continues to provide ecosystem services but they are not familiar with new developments about geodiversity.

Eligible candidates will receive a sponsorship from UNESCO for their participation in the workshop. 

A call for applications is now open until 13 August 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 the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. Numerous sites have received a UNESCO label for their geological heritage, however 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 not familiar with the scientific methods and best practices for evaluating, monitoring, and managing geoheritage. Additionally, the increasing tourism activities in these sites pose risks to geoheritage, warranting guidance to address such challenges. Moreover, climate change-induced shifts in weather patterns and sea level rise require new strategies for mitigating risks to geoheritage. As geodiversity underpins biodiversity, it is crucial for UNESCO designated site managers to incorporate up-to-date developments on geodiversity into their management plans.

How to apply

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 (IGGP) Secretariat before 13 August 2023:

  • A brief geological description of your site (500-1000 words)
  • A cover letter explaining your expectations from the workshop and how it might help you to set-up a new geoheritage management plan and/or improve existing geoheritage management plan for your site and deliver it (500-1000 words)
  • Your CV

The present call prioritizes trainees from developing countries and UNESCO Member States. Women and early career participants are especially encouraged to apply.





    A little bit of history

    A European Heritage Summit was first organized in London on 26–28 April 2006 by Dr. Simon Thurley, former Chief Executive Officer of English Heritage. The mission of the Summit was to gather for the first time the European cultural heritage leaders who had the opportunity to exchange their experience and initiate common actions. It was attended by 23 European states which agreed in the Final Statement to continue to meet annually as a forum of European heritage heads, known as the “European Heritage Heads Forum”. Future hosting countries are chosen by general agreement at the annual meeting.

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    Place Saint-Géry 23, 1000 Brussels

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    Copyright © European Heritage Heads Forum
    All rights reserved.