Geopark Muskauer Faltenbogen / Łuk Mużakowa / Muskau Arch and the seven other internationally certified Geoparks in Germany together constitute the national Forum of UNESCO Global Geoparks in Germany. The Forum is the joint working group and contact partner for the European Geoparks Network (EGN), the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and UNESCO.
Such a network is currently being established in Poland. At the initiative of Muskauer Faltenbogen / Łuk Mużakowa / Muskau Arch, working discussions will take place for the first time in 2023, which will include the aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark Land of Extinct Volcanoes – Kaczawskie Mountains and Foothills.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are regions featuring a geological heritage of outstanding international significance. We make Earth’s history understandable and tangible, linking it with nature and culture as well as with the history and everyday reality of humans. We are model regions for sustainable regional development that, based on the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), holistically anchor the UN Agenda 2030 in society. We achieve this through education, protection, valorization and networking.
The Forum of German UNESCO Global Geoparks is the association of all German UNESCO Global Geoparks as well as UNESCO Global Geoparks in the application process (guest status). We are the representative of the Global Geopark Network (GGN) in Germany and thus the contact partner for all issues relevant to Geoparks – nationally and internationally.
Our key tasks and areas of activity: What do we do?
We wish to preserve and protect the Earth, nature and the landscape, to value them and to create awareness of the richness that results from their geodiversity. We see humankind as part of the diverse history of this planet. Both in the past and to this today, humans have played an important role in the development of cultural landscapes, and the decisions we make today will shape our future.
We actively network throughout the region, promoting its cultural and economic development, sustainability, and geotourism, placing a high value on quality. As a platform for partnerships, cooperation and dialogue in connection with the UN Agenda 2030, we work on location dynamically, and we network globally. In this way, we contribute to sustainable development at the local, regional, national and international levels.
We serve as an interface between science and society, providing education in sustainable development for all ages and target groups. In this process, respect and appreciation for the Earth, nature and the landscape, as well as an awareness of the relationship between humans and the environment, are of particular importance. We convey scientific knowledge in a vivid, action-oriented and experiential way, creating a common understanding of landscapes and cultural spaces, in order to understand the past, to shape the present and to learn for the future.
We promote a return to our own roots via the Earth’s historical and natural heritage. From within the community and in collaboration with our network, we contribute to the development of a regional identity.
We network internationally via the European Geopark Network (EGN) as well as the Global Geopark Network, contributing to peace and intercultural understanding via our holistic approach. As a UNESCO program, we also collaborate with other categories of UNESCO programs.
What do we need? (How can the success achieved by UNESCO Global Geoparks in Germany be safeguarded, going forward?)
In order to adequately and dynamically continue our development as UNESCO Global Geoparks, and to meet new challenges, we need stable framework conditions:
- support from the federal government in ensuring sufficient funding in line with international requirements
- staffing levels that are appropriate to the tasks at hand
- the support of political decision-makers at all levels
- more extensive allocation of resources (principle of connexity) for the fulfillment of additional criteria set by the National Committee for UNESCO Global Geoparks in Germany, which exceed those of the IGGP
Furthermore, within the framework of our UNESCO status and its associated tasks, we strive to be included in future planning with regard to regional development and structural change.