Promoting sustainable economic growth through geoconservation stands as a pivotal strategy for fostering UNESCO Global Geoparks within Africa.
Despite the continent’s rich natural resources, its representation in the global geopark network remains limited.
Acknowledging Africa’s immense potential and the sparse presence of only two UNESCO Global Geoparks—M’Goun mountain in Morocco and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania—underscores the opportunity for broader representation within the region.
UNESCO Global Geoparks, driven by a grassroots approach and a commitment to sustainable development, serve as catalysts for preserving geological heritage while engaging communities and linking geo-heritage with natural and cultural legacies.
During the UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) Concertation in West Africa, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa, highlighted how Geoparks, as internationally recognized sites of geological significance, promote sustainable development.
They instill local pride, foster innovative enterprises, offer quality training, safeguard geological resources, and generate revenue through geo-tourism.
Echoing these sentiments, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), expressed concern over Africa’s limited presence in the global geopark landscape, emphasizing the urgency for more African nations to undergo assessment and meet criteria for establishing geoparks on the continent.
UNESCO remains committed to supporting member states in establishing UNESCO Global Geoparks worldwide, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, and 17, in collaboration with the Global Geoparks Network.