The Cuban government has announced plans to apply for the first Global Geopark in Viñales, Cuba.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designates Global Geoparks according to established criteria.
Viñales, the main tourism site of the Western province of Pinar del Rio, was previously declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The regional attracts a variety of vistors seeking adventure and bucolic landscapes. Viñales‘ agricultural traditions have not changed in at least a century.
Viñales also contains vast caves with remnants of indigenous communities, including cave art and paleontological remains.
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World Heritage sites have been judged as bearing global significance, holding universal human value, and being worthy of cultural preservation and nature conservation. In recent decades, these locations have received the highest level of international designation but are managed according to local laws, regulations, and policies.
Geoparks are UNESCO initiative to recognize and protect culturally and scientifically important locations specifically for their geologic significance. The Global Geopark Network, established in 1998, is a consortium of geoparks with internationally significant geological heritage. Geoparks implement strategies for holistic heritage management, promotion, and sustainable development that are globally integrated, yet respectful of local traditions and desires. Geoparks are found throughout much of the world.
The European Geopark Network and the Asia Pacific Geopark Network presently lead international efforts for geologic heritage conservation in their regions.
An International Tradition
The formal recognition of geologic heritage sites and features is carried out by a number of international, national, state, and local government entities. At the international level, the United Nations World Heritage Program designates cultural and natural areas as significant according to criteria established at the 1972 World Heritage Convention.