Africa’s new geological site candidates seem to be missing out as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization endorses eighteen new Geopark sites.
UNESCO has added to the Global Geoparks Network 18 new sites during the 216th session of its Executive Board held on from 19 to 23 May 2023.
The recently welcomed new Geoparks brings the total number of global Geoparks to 195 and these are found in 48 countries.
Africa still has only two existing Geoparks currently found in only two countries, Morocco and Tanzania.
The first Geopark to be established on the continent is the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark endorsed in 2014.
M’Goun Geopark is located in the middle of the chain of the central High Atlas some 100 kilometers from Marrakech and 330 kilometers from the Capital Casablanca.
Tanzania is home to the second Geopark in Africa, the Ngorongoro-Lengai in the Northern Parts of the Country which was designated with the status in 2018.
Africa was hoping to get two new Geoparks in the form of the proposed Baringo Great Rift Valley Geopark site of Kenya and Arusha-Meru Geopark in Tanzania.
These two aspiring Geoparks from the continent are however missing from the latest UNESCO listing of the 18 new sites.
Seven of the new Geopark sites are in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, making a notable contribution to the region’s engagement with the UNESCO Global Geoparks programme and the sustainable future of people and nature.
The new Geoparks include three sites in Indonesia include, the Ijen, Merangin Jambi, Raja Ampat and Maros Pangkep all found in Indonesia.
There is also Kinabalu Global Geopark of Malaysia, the Bohol Island UNESCO Global Geopark, in Philippines and the Khorat UNESCO Global Geopark of Thailand
Created in 2015, the UNESCO Global Geopark label recognizes geological heritage of international significance.
It serves local communities by combining the conservation of their heritage with public outreach and a sustainable approach to development.
The Executive Board also welcomed eleven new Geoparks in Brazil, Greece, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.