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8 Chinese Parks Put on UNESCO's First Geoparks List

Of the world's 28 geoparks approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Friday in Paris, eight are in China.  

Geoparks, which is short for geological parks, are an international program created by UNESCO to refer to territories that have unique geological landforms and are typical of certain geological evolutionary history.


There are a total of 28 sites in the world on the first UNESCO list of the World Network of Geoparks. The eight Chinese geoparks on the list are: Lushan Geopark, Jiangxi Province; Shilin Geopark, Yunnan; Danxiashan Geopark, Guangdong; Yuntaishan Geopark, Henan; Songshan Geopark, Henan; Huangshan Geopark, Anhui; Wudalianchi Geopark, Heilongjiang; Zhangjiajie Geopark, Hunan.


Local authorities in charge of the parks expected the listing will bring about a tourism boom and an increasing number of visitors from home and abroad.


Zheng Tongyang, director of the tourism bureau of Guangdong where Danxiashan Geopark is located, said the accreditation of Danxiashan as a geopark by UNESCO will benefit, in terms of tourism, not only the park itself, but the province as a whole.


Since 1999, thanks to the support from UNESCO, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources officially launched the geopark program in China. The Geological Society of China played an active role in the geopark work, setting up national geopark standards, an evaluation system and criteria of construction and management.


China to date has established 44 national geoparks.


The guidelines on the world network of geoparks supported by UNESCO hammered out by the advisory and expert group on geoparks were published in May 2002. The national leading group of geoparks in China followed the guidelines and selected the eight candidate parks for the UNESCO program to be listed on the World Network of Geoparks.


All the eight geoparks satisfy the criteria mentioned in guidelines, such as geoscientific value, popularization of geosciences, protection of geoheritages and restoration of geoenvironment social communication and education, job opportunity and local sustainable development.


(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2004)

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