GEOLOGIC HERITAGE WITH INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: PRESENT SITUATION AND CHALLENGES (Invited Presentation)
Four main initiatives aiming the identification of geologic features with international scientific significance were established in the last 40 years: i) The definition of global standards of the fundamental scale to express the Earth’s history, implemented in the 1970s by the International Commission on Stratigraphy of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS); ii) The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); iii) The Global Geosites Project implemented in 1996 by the IUGS; and iv) The UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme, established in 2015.
In all these four initiatives, the challenge is to use rigorous and objective methods, not only to select the most important geologic features but also to assess their possible international significance. A working group was established in 2017 under the IUGS’s International Commission on Geoheritage to produce guidelines to evaluate the geoheritage significance in new UNESCO Global Geopark applications. It is expected that these guidelines will be adopted in 2020, helping evaluators to make this assessment more objectively.