An international meeting on UNESCO Global Geoparks in Central Asia was held in Uzbekistan

17 January 2022

On 12-16 November 2021 an international seminar "UNESCO Geoparks in Central Asia: Opportunities and Potential" was held in Uzbekistan. On 12-15 November, a field trip to the potential Kitab Geopark of Uzbekistan was organized, followed by a seminar on 16 November, held in Tashkent. The meeting was organized by UNESCO office in Almaty, supported by the IGGP Secretariat, in close partnership with the State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport of Uzbekistan. The seminar, held in online and offline mode, brought together about 50 representatives from academia, government institutions involved in geology, tourism, protected areas, as well as local government representatives, and community members from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Germany, as well as representatives from UNESCO Global Geoparks from Iran and Turkey and expert, to discuss potentials, opportunities and challenges to establish and promote geoparks.

Kitab National Geological Park UNESCO

During the field trip, organized in Qashkadarya region of Uzbekistan, the participants visited various sites with significant geological features, as well as cultural and ethnographic value. One day of the field trip was devoted to the Kitab national geological park, which the Uzbek authorities are promoting as the main geosite of scientific value for their first potential geopark of UNESCO. Other sites, illustrating the impact of geological hazards, focusing on geo-tourism perspectives, ethnography and local traditions, were visited, as well as meetings with local community members were organized throughout the trip.


After the field trip, a working group meeting was held in Tashkent, followed by an official plenary session on the Geoparks, in which the deputy chairman of the Geology Committee of Uzbekistan, as well as the Ambassador, Permanent delegate of Uzbekistan to UNESCO participated and expressed high interest in the promoting geoparks in the country. Support by the IGGP secretariat through UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and Almaty office, as well as the Global Geoparks networks with expertise, was conveyed at the meeting. During the seminar, participants exchanged with experiences, discussed and expressed their intentions for further cooperation in promoting UNESCO Global Geoparks in Central Asia and Armenia.


As the result of the meeting, participants of the seminar proposed a number of recommendations for advancing UNESCO Global Geoparks in Central Asia and neighboring countries. All participants agreed to promote networking and cooperation between existing UNESCO Global Geoparks, aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks and geopark projects in Central Asia.


UNESCO, as the only agency in the UN system, promotes international cooperation in geosciences and promotes Global Geoparks as one of its designated sites. UNESCO Global Geoparks empower local communities and give them the opportunity to develop cohesive partnerships with the common goal of promoting the areas with significant geological processes, features, and all other aspects of natural, cultural and intangible heritage. There are still no geoparks in Central Asia, and UNESCO office in Almaty supports the countries to better understand the concept and build capacities of various stakeholders groups in establishing geoparks.

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