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 – (Island of Lesvos) Greece
- Geopark Gerolstein/Vulkaneifel – Germany and
- Maestrazgo Cultural Park – Spain
At present, the Network comprises of 50 Geoparks from 19 European Countries.
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.
The Network owns the “European Geopark” trademark registered within all countries in the European Community.
In April 2001 the Network signed with UNESCO (Division of Earth Sciences) an official agreement of collaboration placing the Network under the auspices of the organization.
In October 2005 the 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 Geoparks worldwide.
Here are some of the important and historic dates which mark the steps of the Network’s formation.
3-5 June 2000
SIGNATURE of the CONVENTION of the CREATION of the EUROPEAN GEOPARK LABEL
During a ceremony organised in Mytilene in the presence of representatives of the Greek government and the press, the representatives of the four founding territories signed the convention defining the usage of the European Geopark label, its conditions and attributes and its constitutional charter.
This highly publicized ceremony was the stimulus of the configuration of the large Network of today.
1st ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Maestrazgo Cultural park
During the first annual conference, organized in Molinos, Teruel, Spain it was announced the establishment of EGN and the procedure to welcome new members in the Network
20 April 2001
SIGNATURE of the CONVENTION of COOPERATION between UNESCO and the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Parc Cabo de Gata (Spain)
This signing took place on the occasion of the opening ceremony of a transnational meeting on the “Management of protected natural spaces and sustainable development” organised by the Junta of Andalucia in partnership with the Regional Council of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur in the frame of the INTERREG IIC programme.
This convention defines the basis of the partnership between the two signatories.
This convention was marked by the presence of the Andalucian Minister of the Environment and the Vice President of the Regional Counsel PACA, by Mr. Wolfgang EDER, Director of the UNESCO’s department of Earth Sciences and Mr. Henri Carbuccia, Adjoint to the mayor of Digne and President of the Réserve Géologique de Haute Provence, representative of the Network.
2nd ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK - FIRST CEREMONY for the INTEGRATION of NEW MEMBERS into the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK (5-10-2001)
This event was organised in the newly opened Natural History Museum of the Petrified Forest in the presence of politicians and the press.
The representatives of the twelve first territories received their distinction from delegates of the Greek government.
3rd ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Kamptal Geopark (Austria)
Welcome of three new members. EGN has already 15 members.
4th ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Psiloritis Geopark (Greece)
Welcome of two new members. EGN has already 17 members.
ESTABLISHMENT of the GLOBAL GEOPARKS NETWORK
In February 2004 the UNESCO international group of experts assembled in Paris where the following items were discussed and decided: a) the establishment of a Global UNESCO Network of Geoparks b) the acceptance of the Operational Guidelines for application on the global Network. It was also decided that the existing 17 European Geoparks and 8 new Chinese Geoparks be included in the Global UNESCO Network of Geoparks.
Madonie Declaration – Cooperation agreement between UNESCO and the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Madonie Geopark (Italy)
In October 2004 during the 5th European Geoparks Meeting held in Petralia Sottana, Madonie Geopark, a new agreement between the Division of Earth Sciences of UNESCO and the European Geoparks Network was officially signed. According to this agreement: ”A European territory wishing to become a member of the UNESCO Global Network of Geoparks must submit a full application dossier to the European Geoparks Network, which acts as the integration organisation into the UNESCO Network for the European continent. The Division of Earth Sciences of UNESCO recognises that the European Geoparks Network is the reference to follow for the creation of other continental networks of geoparks.”
5th ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Madonie Geopark (Italy)
Welcome of five new Geoparks. The EGN has already 22 members. Results of the 1stRevalidation procedure of the EGN members.
6th ANNUAL MEETING of the EUROPEAN GEOPARKS NETWORK
Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark (Greece)
Welcome of four new Geoparks. The EGN has already 25 members. Results of the 2ndRevalidation procedure of the EGN members.Results of the 3rd Revalidation procedure of the EGN members.Results of the 4th Revalidation procedure of the EGN members.
2nd International Conference on Geoparks
Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Welcome of six new Geoparks.
7th EUROPEAN GEOPARKS CONFERENCE
Northwest Higlands Geopark (Scotland UK)
Welcome of four new Geoparks.
3rd International Conference on Geoparks
Terra Vita Geopark (Germany)
8th European Geoparks Conference
Naturtejo Geopark - PORTUGAL
Welcome of five new Geoparks
- Rocca di Cerere Geopark – ITALY
- Geo Mon Geopark - WALES
- Arouca Geopark – CZECH REPUBLIC
- Geopark Shetland - Scotland - UK
- Chelmos – Vouraikos Geopark - GREECE
4th International Conference on Geoparks
Langkawi - MALAYSIA
9th European Geoparks Conference – 10th Anniversary of EGN
Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark - GREECE
Welcome of seven new Geoparks
- Novohrad – Nograd Geopark - HUNGARY and SLOVAKIA
- Magma Geopark – NORWAY
- Basque Coast Geopark, Pais Vasco - SPAIN
- Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano, Campania – ITALY
- Rokua Geopark - FINLAND
- Tuscan Mining Park, Toscana - ITALY
- Vikos – Aoos Geopark - GREECE