Aspiring Geoparks in Australia
A Geopark must ‘demonstrate geological heritage of international significance’ and that the purpose of a Geopark is to ‘explore, develop and celebrate the links between that geological heritage and all other aspects of the area’s natural, cultural and intangible heritage’.
UNESCO Geoparks must use their geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society such as using Earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing risks related to natural disasters.
The Geotourism Standing Committee assesses the international geological merit of any pre-aspiring UNESCO Geoparks which have been endorsed by the Governing Council. Before a Geopark is formally recognised as such, it must go through an assessment process in order to obtain the formal status of ‘Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark’. Currently, there are two regions in Australia which are considered ‘Pre-Aspiring’ Geoparks:
● The Etheridge region of Far North Queensland (roughly 40,000 square kilometres).
● The Warrumbungle region of Northwest NSW (roughly 27,000 square kilometres).
Both of these have been subject to intensive assessment during 2017, with the hopes that they will be recognised as Aspiring Geoparks. Having these regions recognised in such a way will provide local people with a sense of pride in their local environment, and will create innovative local enterprises in a way which still preserves the geological resources of the area.