The European Geoparks Network was established in June 2000 by four Geoparks:
- Reserve Geologique de Haute-Provence – France
- Natural History Museum of Lesvos Petrified Forest – (Lesvos island) Greece
- Geopark Gerolstein/Vulkaneifel – Germany
- Maestrazgo Cultural Park – Spain
Main objective of the cooperation between Geoparks is the protection of geological heritage and the promotion of sustainable development of their territories in Europe. The above listed Geoparks signed a convention on Lesvos Island, Greece in June 2000 declaring the creation of the European Geoparks Network. The purpose of this general designation was to share information and expertises, as well as definition of common tools. Guy Martini Director of the Reserve Geologique Haute Provence, Nickolas Zouros Director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest and Mari – Luise Frey Scientific Coordinator of the Geopark Gerolstein/Vulkaneifel Geopark establish the first Coordination Body of the Network. The Network owns the “European Geopark” trademark registered within all countries in the European Community.
In April 2001 the European Geoparks Network signed with UNESCO (Division of Earth Sciences) an official agreement of collaboration placing the Network under the auspices of the organization.
In February 2004 the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) was founded in Paris as an international partnership developed under the umbrella of UNESCO and serves to develop models of best practice and set quality-standards for territories that integrate the protection preservation of Earth heritage sites in a strategy for regional sustainable economic development.
In October 2005 the European Geoparks Network in the frame of the existing agreement of collaboration with UNESCO (Division of Earth Sciences) signed an official declaration (Madonie declaration) according to which the EGN is recognized as the official branch of the UNESCO – Global Geoparks Network in Europe. With this declaration UNESCO recognize that the European Geoparks Network is a reference to follow for the creation of similar Continental Networks of Geparks worldwide.
In September 2014 the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), became a non-profit organization subject to French legislation (the 1901 law on associations) and a non-governmental organization.
Recognising the very strong role networking has played in the success of the Global Geoparks movement and recognizing the valuable role it plays in facilitating the sharing of experience, formation of joint initiatives and projects and the highly significant role it plays in capacity-building, the GGN encourage the strengthening of Regional Geopark Networks.
Regional Geopark Networks include all the existing GGN members at a regional or continental level.
Regional Geopark Networks serve for the coordination of GGN activities at a regional or continental level for the exchange of information and co-operation between Global Geoparks and Global Geopark professionals in the region.
The activities of Regional Geopark Networks include the organisation of Regional Geopark Conferences, workshops and seminars, capacity building activities, common projects, promotional and marketing activities and common publications.
Each Geopark Network forms a Coordination Commission which is the governing body of the Regional Network and elects two Coordinators and an Advisory Committee according to the Regional Geopark Network Rules of operation.
All Regional Geopark Networks shall submit an Annual Report of Activities to the GGN Executive Board.
The Statutes of the Global Geoparks Network (hereinafter referred to as “GGN”) is the basic document of the Organisation.
The internal Rules of the GGN, and the Code of Ethics define and complete these Statutes.
The European Geoparks Network is the Regional Geoparks Network in Europe of the GGN and follows the above mentioned GGN documents as well as the EGN Rules of operation
The European Geoparks Network Coordination Committee at its 35th session on March 31 –April 1st, 2015 in Paris adopted the following:
- The EGN Charter remains the basic document which inspires the operation and development of the European Geoparks Network.
- The European Geoparks Network following the GGN statutes, will continue to operate as the Regional Geoparks Network of the GGN in Europe.
- The European Geoparks Network based on its history and the EGN operation guidelines developed during the last 15 years, adopts the existing structure and operational rules of the EGN as described in this document.
- GGN Individual members from Europe become members of the EGN Coordination Committee and up to two individual experts are elected in the EGN AC.
- The EGN AC contains one representative of EGN Magazine Editorial Board
- Changes to the existing EGN structure and Operational Rules are subject to a decision of the EGN Coordination Committee.