UNESCO Global Geoparks meet in Marrakesh to share experience & foster cooperation
More than 2,000 representatives from Global Geoparks, senior UNESCO officials, scientists, policy makers and government officials from around the world are taking part in the 10th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks convening in Marrakesh from Sept. 7 to 11.
The event, organized every two years, is the most important international gathering of Geoparks to share experience and knowledge on the construction and operation of Geoparks.
It is attended by scientists, geologists, Professors, companies and all those interested in nature and tangible and intangible heritage. The conference agenda features debates and presentations on geodiversity and biodiversity management, conservation and valorization of geological heritage sites, sustainable tourism and local development.
Participants will also discuss geoparks & the implementation of sustainable development goals, climate change, combating desertification and natural disasters.
During the opening ceremony, Morocco’s permanent representative to UNESCO Samir Addahre said the North African Kingdom looks forward to developing the concept of Geoparks in Africa and the Arab world, regions with great potential but under-represented at the UNESCO Global Geoparks, an agency of the UNESCO.
Chief of the Global Geoparks Networks (GGN), Nickolas Zouros, said the M’Goun UNESCO Geopark, the first geopark in Morocco, Africa and the Arab world, sets the example for others to follow.
The M’Goum geopark is located in the middle of the central chain of the high atlas between Beni Mellal in the north and the crest of the lghil M ‘Goun to the south. It is a protected territory that includes a number of geosites of exceptional interest, but also places of ecological, archaeological, historical and cultural value.
Taking the floor during the Marrakesh conference, Moroccan education minister Chakib Benmoussa said the country’s government attaches great importance to the preservation of the Kingdom’s natural and geological heritage.
Prior to the conference, the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, which held a meeting in Marrakesh Sept.4-5, accepted 16 Geoparks applications from Europe and China. These applications were endorsed for UNESCO nomination in 2024.
The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council plays a crucial role in evaluating new and renewed UNESCO Global Geopark nominations. Its members meet annually to determine whether new applications meet the required standards and can be forwarded the Executive Board of UNESCO for endorsement.