The European Geoparks Network is a European association acting democratically and governed by the representatives of all members.
Nine years after it’s foundation the European Geoparks Network continues to adopt certain operational rules for the Network to reflect the open and democratic spirit that characterised it’s creation.
The European Geoparks Network has formed two operational structures. The Coordination Committee is responsible for the operation and management of the Network while the Advisory Committee gives advice on the development and expansion of the Network within high quality standards.
A Co-ordinator and Vice Co-ordinator are elected by the Coordination Committee members in order to support the Network’s activities between successive Coordination Committee meetings.
The Coordination Cellule of the network is located at the Réserve Géologique de Haute-Provence in France
1. EGN structure
1.1 - The Coordination Committee (CC)
The Coordination Committee is the only decision making committee of the EGN. The Coordination Committee is made up of two representatives from each partner in the European Geopark Network, one is an Earth Scientist (using a broad a definition of that term) with experience in geological heritage protection and/or promotion and the other is a geopark manager or a specialist on local development / community involvement / tourism. The CC meets regularly, at least twice a year, each time in a different geopark, to discuss the Network’s progress and to coordinate joint programmes and activities between members. The Coordination Committee examines applications for European Geopark status and is solely empowered to grant such status to the applicant zone.
1.2 – The Advisory Committee (AC)
The Advisory Committee is made up of specialists in sustainable development and the enhancement and promotion of geological heritage. These specialists include representatives of the zones that originally initiated the EGN plus elected members and representatives of international structures working in the area of enhancement of geological heritage (UNESCO, IUGS, IUCN). The Advisory Committee provides advice on all issues concerning strategy, external relations and the nomination and integration of new zones within the network. The AC has no decision making ability.
1.3 – Official Representatives to the EGN
Upon awarding of membership of the EGN a geopark must nominate two official representatives to the EGN Coordination Committee (CC). These individuals should be thoroughly familiar with the application dossier of their territory (for those representatives who did not assist with the writing of their application dossier). One of the official representatives of the new geopark to the EGN CC must be an Earth Scientist (e.g. geologist, geomorphologist, soil scientist etc). The other official representative must come from an administrative / managerial / economic development (incl. tourism) background. An official subsitiute must also be nominated whose role will be to attend meetings should one of the official nominees be unable to attend.
2. General operational rules
All activities undertaken by Geoparks have to be in a spirit of complimentarity with the other members of the European Geoparks Network. Especially in the fields of common geotourism packages and the creation of new by-products linked with geological heritage, all European Geoparks have to work together in order to improve their common image as special, sustainable tourist destinations and attractions. Each member will be entitled to use the European Geopark logo and name in it’s communications, thereby contributing over time to creating a common image of quality, linking enhancement of geological heritage and sustainable development.
2.1 – Meetings of the EGN
The CC of the EGN meets at least two times each year (once in association with the open annual meeting). It is obligatory to attend all these meetings. An explanation for any anticipated absence from a CC meeting should be provided to the Cellule and Coordinators. While some CC meetings might be financed by particular funds, for example from an EU grant, even if a geopark is not a partner in that project, they are still required to attend the CC meeting. It is obligatory that both official representatives attend all meetings of the CC. If, for some reason, one of the official representatives cannot attend then the officially nominated substitute from that geopark may attend. In this instance, the Cellule and Coordinators must be advised in advance of any CC meeting. Furthermore, two members from each geopark are obliged to attend, even if one of them is the substitute. However, in no instance can three representatives of any one geopark attend a meeting of the CC.
2.2 – Reports
A short progress report should be submitted one month prior to each meeting of the CC summarising activities made in that geopark over the previous period. The reporting period is the period of time between meetings of the CC or, for new members, the period of time between the awarding of their membership and their first CC meeting. The report should detail activities about their work within the network, for example on common projects, as well as specific events, activities and projects in their own geopark. The report should be sent by email to the EGN member currently coordinating progress reports. Every March, EGN members submit an Annual Report which includes the main achievements of the previous year and is published through the EGN website.
2.3 – Agenda
Prior to each meeting, a draft agenda and registration form will be circulated by email. It is the responsibility of each member to react to these emails and to take part in any discussions that might arise from them. For the structural and other important decisions on the operation of the Network, a written proposal has to be circulated to all members at least one month before the meeting of the CC. No discussion or decision on such items can be undertaken unless it has been included on the meeting agenda.
2.4 – Minutes
2.4.1 – The minutes of the CC meeting include the decisions agreed by the CC and as such constitute the official documents of the EGN. The draft minutes of the previous CC meeting should be circulated to all EGN CC members within a month after the meeting and will be formally adopted during the next EGN CC meeting.
2.4.2 – Each new member should familiarise themselves with the minutes of the previous CC meeting so that they will be in a position to understand the discussions within the network and to be able to make a positive contribution at their first CC meeting.
3- EGN Committees
3.1 – The Coordination Committee
The CC comprises the 2 official nominated representatives of each geopark, plus the representative of UNESCO, IUGS and IUCN. All decisions of the network, including the admission of new members, are take by the CC only. UNESCO retains the right of veto over any decision of the CC. There is no national quota to representation on the EGN CC though voting rights are limited to 5 Geoparks per country, i.e. a maximum of 10 votes per country. If there are more than 5 geoparks in any one country, then it is up to the representatives of those geoparks to agree among themselves the distribution of their 10 votes. IUCN and IUGS do not have voting rights in the CC.
3.2 – The Advisory Committee
The AC comprises representatives of the some of the founding members of the EGN in recognition of their particular experience and knowledge on geoparks together with other nominated individuals with a particular skill or knowledge in the fields of geological heritage and / or sustainable economic development. The AC advises on particular topics of discussion within the network, including the admission of new members, but does not have the ability to take decisions for the network. Three positions within the AC are reserved for Guy Martini, Nickolas Zouros and Andreas Schüller as representatives of the founding members. If one of these individuals leaves the AC, for whatever reason, their position will not automatically be transferred to another individual from their geopark but will be subject to election by the CC. Two positions within the AC are reserved for the elected coordinators. One position in the AC is automatically reserved for UNESCO, one is reserved for IUGS and one for IUCN. The remaining positions within the AC are elected by the members of the CC for a period of two years. From the last elections (March 2009) Maurizio Burlando, Reinhard Mitterbäck Tony Ramsey and Chris Woodley-Stewart is elected AC members. Marie-Luise Frey, is elected as external advisor.
3.3 – Coordinator and Vice-coordinator
The role of these positions is to coordinate the life and continuing growth of the network. The positions are elected by the CC for a period of two years. There is no limit to the number of times an individual can be re-elected to these positions. The current positions, re-elected in March 2009, are held by Nickolas Zouros (Coordinator) and Patrick Mc Keever (Vice-coordinator).
3.4 – EGN Cellule
The coordination cellule is the official contact office for the EGN. The cellule coordinates the distribution of information on the network and acts as the initial contact point for new and aspiring members. Sylvie Giraud is the contact point at the EGN cellule which is located at Réserve Géologique de Haute Provence – FRANCE – email@example.com
3.5 – Catalysts and Working Groups
At meetings of the EGN CC working groups may be set up to advance a working paper or project on a particular item of discussion. Typically, such working groups consist of 5 or 6 members of the CC who have volunteered to take part in this work. Catalysts may also be selected to advance work on a particular topic. These are individuals who have voluntarily agreed to coordinate some discussion or activity within the network. Working groups and catalysts are crucial to the strengthening of the network and it is the responsibility of all members of the EGN CC to actively take part in these positions.
3.6- Thematic networks
Thematic networks within EGN have been formed in response to the need to strengthen collaboration between Geoparks on issues of common interest. The themes of these networks are based on the geological characteristics of each Geopark, which can become a basis for the development of common activities of the group members. An important issue should be the connection between the place (landscape, geoforms and geosites) and human activities (culture, local tradition, food, etc). Every thematic network will meet during EGN CC meeting and will present a report to the CC the second day of each EGN CC meeting.
For each thematic network one member of the Coordination Commission will be nominated as Catalyst. The catalysts should have the necessary experience on EGN operation. This means that they should have at least 3 years with EGN CC.
All of the above positions are totally voluntary and are financially supported from within each individual’s own institute.
4. Logos and Map
4.1 – Upon awarding of membership of the EGN, a geopark is entitled to use the logo of the EGN in its promotional material and is entitled to call itself a European Geopark. While many comments have been made regarding the reproduction quality of the EGN logo, it has been decided by the CC that the logo will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Upon awarding of membership of the EGN, a geopark is also entitled to use the appropriate logo of the Global Network of Nationals Geoparks. These logos must only be used on products produced directly by the geopark management. All geoparks are required to check the regulations regarding the use of these logos and guidance may be sought from the EGN Cellule.
4.2 – UNESCO have very strict guidelines regarding the use of their name and their official logo and permission must be sought from them directly for the use of their name and that logo.
4.3 – The EGN map reproduced in the EGN magazine has been produced by the Petrified Forest of Lesvos European Geopark and is available to all EGN members. Any inaccuracies regarding geopark location on this map should be referred directly to the team on Lesvos who will be happy to make any changes for the members.
5 – EGN Internal organisation
5.1 – EGN Internal organisation
The EGN is an organisation that has entered into legally binding agreements, on behalf of it’s members, with other organisations such as UNESCO. However the EGN has no internal financing and no administration positions such as president, secretary-general, treasurer etc… The rational behind this is to encourage all members of the network to be equally active within the network for the benefit of the network. It is to encourage an equal division of responsibilities within the network and to avoid spending time in unnecessary administrative duties that would require some financial support from within the network. For similar reasons there is currently no fee for membership of the EGN. The EGN Cellule is financed entirely by the Réserve Géologique de Haute Provence European Geopark.
5.2 – EGN Financing
5.2.1 – The cost of members travelling to, and accommodation during, the meetings of the co-ordination committee is born by individual members themselves. The committee meets 2 times each year and participation of two representatives of each geopark at all meetings is obligatory.
5.2.2 – The host territory of a meeting pays for all official representatives subsistence. On one occasion each year a meeting of the co-ordination committee coincides with the open Annual Conference of the European Geoparks Network which gives all members the opportunity to welcome new members and to discuss with and advise potential candidates.
5.2.3 – Each member has also to cover an annual promotional fee (€1000) for the publication and distribution cost of the EGN magazine and other EGN promotional activities. Each member will receive 200 copies of the magazine
5.2.4 – Each member has also to cover the cost of travelling, accommodation and subsistence for the two experts who will carry the revalidation mission of the territory every four years (or two in case of yellow card) after a decision of the EGN coordination committee. Note that as the EGN is part of the Global Network of National Geoparks, one or more of the re-evaluators may come from outside Europe.
6. Internal Communication
6.1 – E – Mail
Outside the 2 meetings per year of the EGN CC, the life of the network is continued largely through email correspondences. Email correspondence between and among the EGN members is considered in all cases to be confidential and therefore must not be forwarded or copied to anyone not on the official EGN email list. Great care must be taken that the EGN email list used is always up-to-date. All members of the EGN CC will be notified immediately of any changes in this email list.
6.2 – EGN website “www.europeangeoparks.org”
EGN website is the main communication tool of the Network. The EGN website provides all information concerning the Networks functioning and operation through members progress and annual reports and links to all members websites as well as to the applications of new members. All members should link their website to the EGN website www.europeangeoparks.org. All members are responsible for the improvement of the common EGN web site by updating their presentation and communicating their activities and news.
7. EGN communication and promotion
7.1 – Communication activities
All members should communicate the EGN activities and achievements, especially to local society, and participate in EGN common promotional activities. Each member is responsible for the promotion of EGN activities and members through media, publications, exhibitions, publications, etc.
7.2 – National forum
Members from the same country should organize a National forum in order to coordinate EGN promotional activities at the national level. All members should communicate the EGN activities and achievements especially to the local society and participate in EGN promotional activities.
7.3 – EGN magazine
EGN magazine is the main promotional tool of the network and is published annually. EGN members should provide all necessary contribution and support for the creation of common promotional tools (i.e. submitting articles for the EGN magazine, providing photos, contributions for books or leaflets ) as well as for their distribution and promotion.
7.4 – Geoparks Corner
All members are responsible to present the Network and all other members through the “Geoparks Corner” which should be organized in the main tourism centre (museum, interpretation centre, etc) of each geopark. A Geoparks Corner is a promotional display providing information, images, leaflets, products etc… of all EGN members.
8 – EGN Common activities
All members should participate in EGN common activities. All members should also participate in EGN proposals for the realisation of common activities through European Union funds.
8.1 – European Geoparks Week
EGN week is the annual festival organized in all EGN members during summer to promote Geoparks. The submission of the EGN programme and the report on the results is obligatory for all members. While most members will organise EGN week during the same period as most other members, some geoparks, for local reasons, may wish to hold it at a different time during the period May 1 – August 31.
8.2 – Annual Conference
The Annual Conference is hosted every year in a different EGN member and is the main outreach activity of the EGN.
Each member should contribute to the Annual open conference of the network by presenting an oral or poster communication about geopark’s achievements, activities and experiences
8.3 – Intensive Course on Geoparks
EGN/GGN organizes annually an Intensive Course on Geoparks which focuses on geoconservation, geopark management and operation, geotourism development, educational activities, local development.
This Intensive course is open also to individuals with a third level degree in science, coming from non-member organizations.
8.4 – Members collaboration
All members should collaborate with each other at a bilateral or multilateral basis, through the organisation of common activities, exchange of know how, twinning agreements, common publications, presentation of geotourism initiatives and local products etc.