top of page


From the beginning, from the Digne’s Declaration (1991) UNESCO is closely supporting the development of the Geopark concept and process. A more than 20 years partnership which has conducted in 2015, the 193 UNESCO State Members, to adopt a new program transforming Geoparks in a full UNESCO initiative.


From 1991, UNESCO is actively and supportively involved in the Geopark long process and evolution. UNESCO shared with the founders of the concept of Geopark intense reflection and exchanges and accompanying with understanding a process initiated by some specialists involved in the protection of the geological heritage and the sustainable development of rural and difficult territories.

The creation of the various Geoparks Network (EGN, APGN, ...) and even of the GGN itself has always been done with the presence and the constructive support of UNESCO.

Considering the world success and expansion of Geoparks, UNESCO develop in 2014 a State Member working group with the aim to study the possibility to transform the initiative Geopark in a full UNESC0 program. The 17th November 2015 the 193 UNESCO State Members adopt unanimously and with enthusiasm a new program called IGGP (International Geosciences and Geopark Program) transforming Geopark in UNESCO Geoparks, the third UNESCO designation created 40 years after the World Heritage List and the Biosphere Reserve. The new UNESCO territory of the XXI century is born.





UNESCO Geoparks are developed under the direct control of UNESCO and analyzed on the basis of clear guidelines adopted by the UNESCO State Members. Territories specifically dedicated to sustainable development, the UNESCO Geoparks is the only UNESCO destination undergoing strict revalidation control. Each territory must be revalidated every 4 years after the establishment of a progress report and a field inspection carried out by assessors selected by the GGN. This cumbersome procedure is an essential guarantee for the UNESCO Geopark to be areas of excellence.

Global Geopark Designation

Global Geopark Designation

[Anchor Lead] Efforts are underway to designate the area around the Hantanggang River in Cheorwon as a UNESCO Global Geopark for its famous basalt columnar jointing forms. Get a look at these impressive natural structures in our next story. [Pkg] Formed over hundreds of millions of years, these basalt columnar joints along with the surrounding gorges and waterfalls create a breathtaking spectacle. The 163km Hantangang River originates in Pyeonggang County in the northern part of Gangwon-do Province and flows through Cheorwon-gun County and Gyeonggi-do Province into the Yellow Sea. Efforts are underway to designate the Hantangang River area as a UNESCO global geopark for its high geological value. [Soundbite] Prof. Kim Chang-hwan(Kangwon National Univ.) : "This area has a lot of potential because it's the only place in the world that has a demilitarized zone and geological resources." The governments of Gangwon-do Province and Cheorwon-gun County have launched academic research into the area in a joint effort with the local governments of Yeoncheon and Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do Province. [Soundbite] Hong Jung-pyo(Director, Cheorwon Facilities Management Office) : "We will ensure legal protection for the columnar joints with the help of geological experts, and create hiking trails around the columnar joints for tourists." If the area is designated as a global geopark, it will be able to attract international tourists and promote tourism in the demilitarized zone.
Cheongsong-gun registered for the UNESCO Global Geoparks at last!

Cheongsong-gun registered for the UNESCO Global Geoparks at last!

Expected to make a leap into a global tourist site based on geological resources [International i Journal = Reporter Ma Hyeseong from Yeoui Peak, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea] Cheongsong-gun, a geological repository having natural conditions, was registered for the UNESCO Global Geoparks for the 2nd time in Korea next to Jeju Island. ▲ Cheongsong-gun registered for the UNESCO Global Geoparks at last! ⓒIIJ As a result, Cheongsong-gun will be entitled to the status as the UNESCO Global Geoparks for 4 years from May 5, 2017. Cheongsong County, which was recommended to be registered by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Committee last December, was finally adopted as the UNESCO Global Geoparks at the UNESCO Executive Council held in Paris, France at 4:30 pm on May 1, 2017 local time. A total of 33 places have been designated as UNESCO Global Geoparks over 127 countries in the world, and 8 places in 8 countries including France, Iran, and Spain were newly added to the list of Global Geoparks along with Cheongsong. As a result, Cheongsong-gun paved the way for growing into a tourist site whose geological value is recognized through nature conservation and utilization of its tourism resources. Preserving lithium-bearing tosudite minerals massively, which are present in a very small amount only in less than 10 regions of the world and possessing spherulitic rhyolite, the so-called "flower stone", Cheongsong-gun has been evaluated as the optimum place for geology study in the world in the screening course of Global Geoparks. In particular, the Juwangsan National Park is made up of one of the thickest volcanic ash layers in the world, and the Juwangsan Valley Geology Trail has been highly appreciated by the evaluation committee because the convenience facilities are designed well enough to facilitate the visit of the elderly or handicapped. Also, Beopsudoseok (Stone) Geosite, the home of Cheongsong Porcelain raw materials, is an area where geology, history, and culture are mixed well to become a region that suits the concept of Geoparks most. Apples, one of the representative resources of Cheongsong, are worthy of being used as geological food because they are grown on a hardened ground where the ejecta from volcanic activities that shook the southeastern part of the Korean Cretaceous Peninsula has been piled up. However, as the Global Geoparks should be re-certified every 4 years, we are also under pressure to make constant efforts and achievements in order to revitalize this Global Geoparks. With regard to the registration for Global Geoparks, Cheongsong County Governor Han Sang-soo said, "We will utilize the brand value of UNESCO to improve the awareness of Cheongsong and attract tourists" and added, "We will induce stay type tours to create income and open the era of sustainable future development.”


bottom of page