July 27 (Wed) - 28 (Thu) 2016 Venue: Toki Messe (Niigata Convention Center)

What are Geoparks? 

 The word "Geopark" derives from the prefix "Geo" meaning "Geology." Geoparks are a program which seeks to share our precious geological heritage and its related cultural and natural heritage with a wider audience. In November 2015 Global Geoparks became an official UNESCO program and were rebranded as UNESCO Global Geoparks. There are currently 120 UNESCO Global Geoparks around the world of which 8, including Itoigawa, are located in Japan.

 In order to share Geoparks with a wider audience and continually improve their quality, it is essential for individual Geoparks to be able to exhibit their independent activities while working hand-in-hand with other Geoparks around the world. They must share their ideas and projects with each other and search for a better understanding of what it means to be a Geopark.

 To that end, a network was formed of Geoparks around the world called the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and a network of Japanese Geoparks was formed called the Japanese Geoparks Network (JGN). Other networks of Geoparks formed include the Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN) and the European Geoparks Network (EGN), as well as other National Geopark Networks.

 The GGN, APGN, EGN, and other international networks hold conferences once every two years, while the Japanese Geoparks Network holds an annual conference for Japanese Geoparks where they share their individual experiences, programs, and other information. Outside of these conferences, Geoparks engage in staff exchange and research with each other and even form sistering relationships.

 With this sort of activity as a foundation, Geoparks around the world can make use of their geological heritage while promoting conservation and educational activities. Through study tour and other programs, Geoparks help teach us all more about the planet we share.

Geopark Websites
Global Geoparks Network(GGN)
Global Geoparks Network International Association
Japanese Geoparks Network (JGN)
Japanese Geoparks Council