“UNE­SCO Glo­bal 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.”

The UN body UNE­SCO have three dif­fe­rent distin­c­tions that are­as around the world may be gran­ted: World Heri­tage Sites, Biosphe­re Reser­ves, and Glo­bal Geo­parks. The con­cept of geo­park was established in the year 2000 and beca­me a part of UNE­SCO in 2015. The­re is a total of 140 geo­parks in 38 countri­es today – and the network is growing fast. The­re are established geo­parks in all our neigh­bou­ring Nor­dic countri­es, but so far none in Swe­den. We aim to become the first geo­park in Swe­den when we send in our appli­ca­tion in the autumn of 2019.

The­re is a glo­bal network of geo­parks (Glo­bal Geo­parks Network), which is a coa­li­tion of all the Glo­bal Geo­parks, and the­re is a regi­o­nal geo­park network as well. In Euro­pe, we have the Euro­pe­an Geo­parks Network. 

A geo­park acti­vely works to show and spre­ad know­led­ge about geo­lo­gy and geo­lo­gi­cal sites, for examp­le by deve­lo­ping tou­rism in the area and through acti­vi­ti­es aimed at child­ren and tee­na­gers. One impor­tant part is to always point out and explain the con­nec­tions between geo­lo­gy and bio­lo­gy, and between geo­lo­gy, peop­le, and cul­tural histo­ry. All in all, a geo­park pro­vi­des a bet­ter understan­ding for how we should manage our natu­ral resour­ces and our pla­net, and it gives oppor­tu­ni­ti­es for a posi­ti­ve deve­lop­ment of rural areas.

App­ly­ing for an appro­val as a UNE­SCO Glo­bal Geo­park is an exten­si­ve pro­cess which gua­ran­te­es that only stab­le appli­cants of high qua­li­ty are approved.

Some impor­tant points in the appli­ca­tion pro­cess include:

  1. An appli­cant must have geo­lo­gi­cal sites and lands­ca­pes of inter­na­tio­nal value. The basis for this assess­ment must be scientific.
  2. The appli­ca­tion form, a docu­ment of some 50 pages plus a num­ber of appen­di­ces, must be sub­mitted between Octo­ber 1 and Novem­ber 30. The appli­ca­tion is sent via the Swe­dish UNE­SCO office in Stock­holm to UNESCO’s head office in Paris.
  3. An appli­cant must be an “established and acti­ve” geo­park befo­re the appli­ca­tion is sub­mitted – this means that eve­ryt­hing from an orga­ni­sa­tio­nal structu­re and a long-term finan­ci­al plan to acti­vi­ti­es like gui­ded tours and school pro­gram­mes must be in pla­ce. It is impor­tant that the geo­park is a pub­lic pro­ject that bene­fits a wide public.
  4. In the sum­mer after the appli­ca­tion has been sub­mitted, the geo­park recei­ves a visit from two UNE­SCO repre­sen­ta­ti­ves who will eva­lu­a­te the geopark’s work on-site (a pre­requi­si­te for this is that the appli­cant has pas­sed a sci­en­ti­fic assess­ment of the geo­lo­gy as being of inter­na­tio­nal value). The two repre­sen­ta­ti­ves will then sub­mit a report inclu­ding a recom­men­da­tion whet­her or not to appro­ve the application. 
  5. The­re are three pos­sib­le outcomes of the appli­ca­tion pro­cess. The appli­cant may eit­her recei­ve a green card, mea­ning the appli­ca­tion is appro­ved, or a red card, mea­ning it has been deni­ed – or a yel­low card. The yel­low card means that the appli­ca­tion will be put on hold for two years and that the appli­cant is given a list with recom­men­da­tions for improvements.
  6. If an appli­cant is appro­ved, the deci­sion will be recog­ni­zed at UNESCO’s Gene­ral Con­fe­rence which takes pla­ce in the spring each year. 
  7. An appro­val only lasts four years at a time – after that, a report must be sub­mitted and two inspectors from UNE­SCO will visit the geo­park and assess its work on-site. This inspec­tion also has three pos­sib­le outcomes: a green, yel­low, or red card.    

You can find addi­tio­nal infor­ma­tion at 



Swe­dish Natio­nal Comis­sion for UNESCO.