Geopark Networks – CS 2

Hosting a European Geoparks Network Conference

a case study provided by the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark, Portugal

The EGN AZORES 2017 Conference in numbers:

  • A total of 370 delegates from 26 European countries (85%) and also from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Iran, Japan, Mexico and USA .
  • 125 oral presentations and 40 i-posters (e.g. TV screen posters).
  • Seven special oral presentations delivered under the umbrella of the two workshops “Geoparks & Geotourism in Volcanic Areas” and “Geohazards in Geoparks”.
  • Seven buses and boats for the mid-conference field trip, with three different options and itineraries (“Feel and taste the S. Miguel volcanoes”, “…deep blue and coloured greens”, “Geocultural Landscapes”);
  • 16 delegates at the post-conference field-trip “…from majestic volcanoes to great people” on the Faial, S. Jorge and Pico islands; 
  • 26 delegates at the post-conference field-trip “…islands of fire and water” on the Flores and Corvo islands.
  • about 10 social and cultural events organized in collaboration with the stakeholders of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG) and the local population, including a musical performance by the regional music school in Ponta Delgada, a “(GEO)FAIR” to promote European geotourism and draw attention to the importance of this tourism product worldwide, the launch of the special stamps edition “Geoparque Açores” by the Portuguese post company, CTT-Correios de Portugal S.A. and the welcoming of the conference delegates by a group of 20 children from a centre for child support and social inclusion.

Those are some achievements of the 14th European Geoparks Conference – EGN AZORES 2017, that took place in the Azores UGG from 7th to 9th September 2017, followed by the post-conference field-trips (from 10th to 13th, September) and that also included the EGN Advisory Committee Meeting, on September 5th and the 40th Meeting of the EGN Coordination Committee, on September 6th.

As a Geopark, we emphasised the strategy implemented on the management of the EGN AZORES 2017 Conference, supported by a clear breakdown of tasks and a strong engagement among the Azores UGG team, the involvement of the local stakeholders and regional institutions, the sponsorship by the Azores Government and, during the conference, the outstanding help of the 22 volunteers, from Portugal, Brazil, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and USA.

The outcome of the EGN AZORES 2017 Conference confirms the scientific quality of the contributions, the growing international interest in Geoparks as a whole, the high quality standards in Geopark operation and activities and the recognition of geotourism in the sustainable development of Geoparks’ territories worldwide. At a regional level, the Conference raised awareness among the population and the governance improved the local engagement and contributed significantly to the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark visibility, recognition and development.