Geoparks in Scotland

What are Scotland’s Geoparks?

Scotland’s Geoparks are areas that have sites and landscapes of international geological significance, that are promoted and managed for tourism, conservation and education. Geoparks in Scotland are expected to be financially self-sustaining, and they do not receive any on-going funding from the Scottish Government. Each Geopark is run by a local community organisation, so they have different structures and priorities.

UNESCO Global Geoparks

UNESCO (the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture) announced the creation of UNESCO Global Geoparks in 2015. This was the first new UNESCO designation of its kind to be established in over 40 years and puts Global Geoparks alongside UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Previously operating with the informal support of UNESCO, the status of Global Geoparks is now formally recognised under the new programme.

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. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. At present, there are 119 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 33 countries. Scotland has two UNESCO Global Geoparks.

Find out more about UNESCO Global Geoparks.