The Geoparks, a concrete way to protect geological heritage and to spread knowledge

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The protection and enhancement of geological heritage at national and international level is a fundamental factor in the context of broader policies for planning and management of natural resources.Several are the acts and measures that have been adopted to protect the most important areas from the geological point of view. First of all the Convention on the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO) signed in Paris in 1972 that at the Article 2 - dedicated to the definition of "natural heritage" - citing, among others, "natural monuments consisting of physical formations or groups of such formations, geological and physiographical formations". Equally important is the classification prepared in 1994 by the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) which have been identified the guidelines for the management of protected areas with particular attention to the geological heritage.In addition there are several international programs such as the Biosphere Reserves (Man and Biosphere Programme - MAB UNESCO), the protected wetlands under the Ramsar Convention or the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which have provided actions in favor to support the conservation of areas that are often represented by sites of great importance with regard to the conservation of the geological heritage. However, the more recent strategy of Geoparks - launched in 2000 under the European Geoparks Network (EGN) and consolidated in 2004 with the establishment of the Global Network of Geoparks under the auspices of UNESCO - which perfectly interprets the policies for the conservation and enhancement of geological heritage and integrates them in the context of more complex actions aimed at protection of environmental resources and sustainable development at the local level

 

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