|▲ Jusangjeoli Cliff of Daepo (Jungmun Daepo Beach Jusant Jeollidae
The World Heritage Office of Jeju Special Governing Province announced that the third recertification of UNESCO Jeju Province Global Geopark was confirmed, and thereby it will maintain its status until 2026.
UNESCO officially announced its decision to recertify the Jeju Province Global Geopark on its website (www.unesco.org) after an on-site evaluation last September and the 7th UNESCO Global Geopark Steering Committee review from December 7 to 9.
During the review, UNESCO has highly evaluated that Jeju Province Global Geopark has faithfully implemented the recommendations presented by UNESCO at the time of its recertification in 2018 and successfully held the 9th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, despite the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
|▲ Manjang Cave
UNESCO also presented new recommendations during the review process. The recommendations mainly focus on strengthening the publicity of geological heritage by linking biodiversity and cultural heritage, increasing convenient facilities at geological representative sites for tourists, including those who are vulnerable in transit, and strengthening education on geological disasters. The recommendations will be solidified through official UNESCO documents.
In January this year, Jeju Province submitted a progress report, self-evaluation report, management plan, and evidence documents on the operation of the Jeju Province Global GeoPark over the last four years in order to get recertification as a global geopark.
Subsequently, on-site inspections related to recertification by UNESCO-selected geopark experts were held for four days from September 13 to 16 throughout Jeju Island.
|▲ Dragon head seashore (Yongmeori Seashore)
The recertification process will be completed once UNESCO hands over official documents confirming the recertification of Jeju Province Global Geopark along with the certificate by next February.
Jeju Province plans to formulate a follow-up action plan for the recommendations made during the review process and strive to maintain its status as Global Geopark.
On the other hand, the review process is being enhanced, as the Global Geoparks is one of three official UNESCO’s natural science programs, along with the World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve that carry high international brand values.
Four of the 43 global geoparks that have undergone recertification assessment this year have received 'yellow cards' and will lose their status as global geoparks.
The Global Geopark endows brand status through a strict re-certification review process in a four-year cycle and is known to have finicky certification and status maintenance processes. Currently, 177 global geoparks in 46 countries around the world have been certified by UNESCO.
Dukseung Byun, director of the Jeju Province World Heritage Office, said that, "Through the successful re-certification of the Jeju Province Global Geopark for the third time, we can continue the UNESCO Triple Crown brand" and that he “will manage it meticulously, strengthen capabilities in order to have Global Geopark as the Jeju’s main brand.”
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