Croatia now has another natural beauty with UNESCO protection after Papuk Geopark was declared a UNESCO geopark…
Papuk Geopark, located in eastern Croatia, is the first, and for now only UNESCO Geopark in Croatia, which gained its status due to the extraordinary geological and biological diversity and valuable cultural heritage of the Papuk and Krndija mountains.
At a recent UNESCO meeting an International Programme for Geosciences and Geoparks was established, which includes a UNESCO World Geoparks brand programme.. Today there are 120 world geoparks in 33 countries. Those parks, which now includes Papuk in Croatia, are today now under UNESCO protection.
“This award will enable better promotion of Papuk on an international level, and an even greater level of protection of the park. It is of great importance for the local community and sustainable development of the wider area of the park,” said the Croatia’s Minister of Environment and Nature Protection Mihael Zmajlović.
World Geoparks tell the 4.6 billion year-old story of the planet. It is a story about the geological processes that shaped the Earth, but also about the evolution of humanity itself. Together with the World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves Geoparks contribute to achieving the objectives of sustainable development. The aim of the new brand ‘UNESCO World Geoparks’, is to raise awareness of geodiversity and promote best practices of nature conservation, education and tourism.
A Geopark must contain a few geologically or geomorphologically important locations of interest to a wider community. These locations can be important by their scientific value, rarity, aesthetic or educational importance.
Geoparks do not only benefit from geologically interesting locations, but also from various ecological, archaeological, historical and cultural notability. Geoparks are run by local communities which can recognise and wish to confirm their geological, historical and cultural heritage, mostly through the idea of geotourism.
Papuk was designated as a protected Nature Park in 1999, and in 2007 it became the first area in Croatia to be awarded Geopark status.