The European Geoparks charter was officially accepted on June 5,2000 in Lesvos, Greece and was signed by the four founder members of the European Geoparks Network.
Every territory wishing to submit candidature to become a European Geopark is obligated to accept this charter and will sign it at the moment of the official nomination.
1. A European Geopark is a territory which includes a particular geological heritage and a sustainable territorial development strategy supported by a European programme to promote development. It must have clearly defined boundaries and sufficient surface area for true territorial economic development. A European Geopark must comprise a certain number of geological sites of particular importance in terms of their scientific quality, rarity, aesthetic appeal or educational value. The majority of sites present on the territory of a European Geopark must be part of the geological heritage, but their interest may also be archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural.
2. The sites in European Geopark must be linked in a network and benefit from protection and management measures. The European Geopark must be managed by a clearly defined structure able to enforce protection, enhancement and sustainable development policies within its territory. No loss or destruction, directly or via sale, of the geological values of a European Geopark may be tolerated. In this respect European Geoparks are managed within the framework established by the Global Geoparks Network Charter (see below).
3. A European Geopark has an active role in the economic development of its territory through enhancement of a general image linked to the geological heritage and the development of Geotourism. A European Geopark has direct impact on the territory by influencing its inhabitants’ living conditions and environment. The objective is to enable the inhabitants to re-appropriate the values of the territory’s heritage and actively participate in the territory’s cultural revitalization as a whole.
4. A European Geopark develops, experiments and enhances methods for preserving the geological heritage.
5. A European Geopark has also to support education on the environment, training and development of scientific research in the various disciplines of the Earth Sciences, enhancement of the natural environment and sustainable development policies.
6. A European Geopark must work within the European Geopark Network to further the network’s construction and cohesion. It must work with local enterprises to promote and support the creation of new by-products linked with the geological heritage in a spirit of complementarity with the other European Geoparks Network members.
Global Geoparks Network Charter
A Geopark must respect local and national laws relating to the protection of geological heritage. In order to be seen to be impartial in its management of the geological heritage, its managing body must not participate directly in the sale of geological objects* within the Geopark (no matter from where they are) and should actively discourage unsustainable trade in geological materials as a whole, including shortsighted selling of Earth heritage, minerals and fossils . Where clearly justified as a responsible activity and as part of delivering the most effective and sustainable means of site management, it may permit sustainable collecting of geological materials for scientific and educational purposes from naturally renewable sites within the Geopark. Trade of geological materials based on such a system may be tolerated in exceptional circumstances, provided it is clearly and publicly explained, justified and monitored as the best option for the Geopark in relation to local circumstances. Such circumstances will be subject to debate and approval by the GGN / EGN on a case by case basis.