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Black Country awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status

10 July 2020 – London, UK

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There were huge cheers from around the Black Country today as the region became an official, world-famous UNESCO Global Geopark.

After submitting its final stage of the application to UNESCO last year, the Black Country Geopark project group has been waiting with bated breath to hear whether it would be successful. And today, more than ten years on since the project was first conceived and discussed it has become a reality.

🎙️ A word from Ambassador Matthew Lodge

“With geology stretching back 428 million years, and a landscape and heritage that shaped the modern world during the industrial revolution, it is right that the Black Country is given this prestigious UN status.”

Ambassador Matthew Lodge, UK Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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📣   Press Release

The Executive Board of UNESCO has confirmed that the Black Country has been welcomed into the network of Global Geoparks as a place with internationally important geology, because of its cultural heritage and the active partnerships committed to conserving, managing and promoting it.

This means the Black Country is now on a par with UNESCO Global Geoparks in countries stretching from Brazil to Canada and Iceland to Tanzania. All of the UK’s UNESCO Global Geoparks have internationally significant geology. But what sets UNESCO Global Geoparks apart is that they are locally-led partnerships that work to support sustainable economic development of the area, primarily through geological and eco-tourism, with activities such as developing geotrails and projects to bring geology to life for people and holding festivals and events. They also organise education projects in schools and communities.

Geopark status recognises the many world-class natural and important cultural features in the Black Country and how they come to tell the story of the landscape and the people that live within it.

In the case of the Black Country, the significant part it played in the industrial revolution has been at the heart of the bid. More than forty varied geosites have been selected so far within the geopark that tell its story as a special landscape but more will be added as the Geopark develops.

Geosites include Dudley and Wolverhampton Museums, Wrens Nest National Nature Reserve, Sandwell Valley, Red House Glass Cone, Bantock Park and Walsall Arboretum.

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Matthew Rabagliati
Head of Policy Communications and Research
UK National Commission for UNESCO

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“Today is a landmark achievement which recognises the internationally rich geology and cultural heritage of the Black Country. The move will benefit the environment and boost tourism, as well as providing more people with the opportunity to connect with the natural world.”

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England

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📸   #InPicture

Discover the new Black Country #Geopark in photos directly from the community.

Highland mountains, ocean cliffs, billion year old rocks and cavernous caves. The UK’s UNESCO Global Geoparks are part of a global network of over 140 areas of exceptional geological significance

UNESCO GEOPARKS

Discover the UK’s UNESCO Global Geoparks

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WHAT ARE GEOPARKS

Above all else, Geoparks are about local people, and without their passion and enthusiasm, they really cannot thrive or flourish.

UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Geoparks are areas of exceptional geological significance. All of the UK’s geoparks have internationally significant geology, but what makes them special is that they are community-led partnerships that promote an appreciation of natural and cultural heritage while supporting the sustainable economic development of the area, primarily through geological and eco-tourism.

A WORLD OF GEOPARKS

Explore the world’s hundreds of UNESCO Global Geoparks and learn more about their mission

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