According to the inscription list (2015) published by the Global Geoparks Network, it is undeniable that designated sites tend to be concentrated in the Global North (Europe), whereas the Global South is underrepresented with the exception of China. This leads us to question this disparity (North/South and South/South) and on the principles of UNESCO's designation.
The GEOPARK project has studied difficulties in planning and management of geoparks in different socio-political contexts (Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America), including aspects of scientific expertise, participatory inventory, perceptions of geotourism, co-management with local populations.
Combining the theoretical research and our fieldworks in Zat valley, we are now able to propose innovative and interdisciplinary methodologies for the co-development of geopark with local populations, adapted to developing countries of the Global South. Main results are disseminated in the two annual international workshops and the international conference organized in Barcelona in 2018, and are assembled in a collective book coming out in French and English in 2019.
Besides its contribution to geopark-related capacity building for developing countries, the project GEOPARK is expected to build further research and innovation networks between European talents and the Global South. At this point, promising impacts have been shown by several post-project long-term collaborations. The endeavor in capacity building in protected area has been continued by the Eramsus+ Edu-BioMed project (2018-2021) led by UAB-ICTA (Spain). This new project works on education and applied research in UNESCO Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, a network that has recently included two Moroccan Biosphere Reserves though partnerships built during GEOPARK project. Besides, further scientific exchange on geopark and geoheritage related issues at the global level has also be ensured by the new editorial collaboration of International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks, co-edited since 2018 by Beijing Normal University (China) and Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (France).