UNESCO Global Geoparks and Japanese Geoparks
The geoparks initiative, which originated in Europe, promotes the conservation and use of geological heritage sites. The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) was established by a number of European countries and China in 2004, and the initiative was adopted as an official program by UNESCO in 2015. As of April 2021, 169 sites in 44 countries (including Japan) were recognized as UNESCO Global Geoparks. Network members are required to meet UNESCO standards and have a track record of particular achievement.
Aside from UNESCO Global Geoparks, Japanese Geoparks are domestic areas certified by the Japan Geopark Committee. As of April 2022, 46 sites were registered and many other candidate areas were working toward official recognition. Certified in 2008, Mt. Apoi Geopark was among the first seven members to be recognized.
Nine Japanese Geoparks (Toya-Usu, Itoigawa, San'in Kaigan, Unzen Volcanic Area, Muroto, the Oki Islands, Aso, Izu Peninsula and Mt. Apoi) are also certified as UNESCO Global Geoparks.