From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Global Geoparks Network
Mains level: Not Much
- In a first, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi are set to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
- Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.
Requirements of Global Geoparks
- An aspiring Global Geopark must have a dedicated website, a corporate identity, comprehensive management plan, protection plans, finance, and partnerships for it to be accepted.
- The Geopark tag is akin to that of a ‘World Heritage Site’ for historical monuments that can bring India’s famed geological features to the global stage.
- Lonar lake is the only known meteorite crater in basaltic rock and is world famous, while St. Mary’s island is a unique phenomenon that has been preserved well.
- Mary’s Island, declared a national geo-heritage site in 1975, is estimated to be an 88-million-year-old formation that goes back to a time when Greater India broke away from Madagascar.
Global Geoparks Network
- The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) is a UNESCO assisted network established in 1998.
- The GGN works in close synergy with another project under UNESCO’s Ecological and Earth Sciences Division—the Man and Biosphere (MAB) World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
- A set of criteria as established by UNESCO must first be met for a geopark, as nominated by the corresponding government, to be included in the GGN:
- the existence of a management plan designed to foster socio-economic development that is sustainable (most likely to be based on agritourism and geotourism);
- demonstrate methods for conserving and enhancing geological heritage and provide means for teaching geoscientific disciplines and broader environmental issues;
- joint-proposals submitted by public authorities, local communities and private interests acting together, which demonstrate the best practices with respect to Earth heritage conservation and its integration into sustainable development strategies.