Qeshm Island, 28 April 2018- Members of the Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network and representatives of National Commissions for UNESCO from 17 countries gathered on Qeshm Island to attend an international meeting and workshop on UNESCO Global Geoparks.
The meeting that was organized by the UNESCO in collaboration with the Organization of the Geological Survey & Mineral Explorations of Iran and Qeshm Free Zone Organization provided a platform for discussions and exchange of experiences and ideas between experts from different countries.
Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in her opening remarks highlighted the fact that Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area. “UNESCO Global Geoparks are embedded in local communities and aim to bring economic benefit to these communities through the development of sustainable tourism”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.
“UNESCO Global Geoparks are all about partnership and cooperation, not only between local stakeholders, but also internationally, through regional and global networks were knowledge, ideas and best practices are shared” she added. “As Qeshm Island is the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the Middle East, the island can serve as a model and example for other countries in the region.”
Mr. Patrick Mc Keever, Secretary of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Program of UNESCO and Mr. Nickolas Zouros, President of Global Geoparks Network as the main lecturers of the event also underscored the role of local communities in the sustainable management of Geoparks.
Currently there are 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 38 countries around the world. Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas, where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
Qeshm Global Geopark, represents important ecological and cultural heritage of Iran due to its unique geological, geographic, archaeological and ecological features, such as unique methods of fresh water keeping and collecting.
The island is also famous for its tangible and intangible cultural heritage, wildlife, mangrove forests on the coastline, and the many flora and fauna species that can be found there.
In May 2017, Qeshm Island received the UNESCO Global Geopark label for its exposed geological formations that have been shaped by erosion generating a range of spectacular landscapes and beautiful rock deserts.
Currently Iran has 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 12 UNESCO biosphere reserves and 1 UNESCO Global Geopark (Qeshm Island).
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