After intensive work over the past few weeks, Mëllerdall Nature Reserve has finalised its application in order to be recognised as a 'UNESCO World Geopark'. Geoparks are unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. To date there are 127 'UNESCO World Geoparks' in 35 countries.
'UNESCO World Geopark' is a worldwide network defined by recognised geological areas of special significance and whose maintenance is a priority for humanity. Geology is of great value and enables humanity to take a look back at the past. It shows us the evolution of our planet and our cultures. Thanks to the interpretation of geology, knowledge about our planet can be passed on to our children.
Mëllerdall Nature Reserve in a good position
The 12 municipalities within the Nature Reserve are aware of the importance of this recognition by UNESCO and see it as a way to reinforce cohesion between the municipalities and as an additional cultural, economic and environmental asset for the region.
In order to become a 'UNESCO World Geopark', the UNESCO criteria are clear: the region must show evidence of collaboration and commitment with the goal of sustainable development. Mëllerdall Nature Reserve was created by the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 17 March 2016, which offers an ideal structure for the management of such a Geopark.
The objectives of the Nature Reserve, which are defined by the law of 10 August 2003, highlight the importance of protecting the environment, nature and landscape, and place an emphasis on the sustainable economic development of the area. The Nature Reserve is managed by a mixed inter-municipality association, in other words 12 representatives from the municipalities and nine representatives from the ministries and administrations share responsibility.
The application put together by Mëllerdall Nature Reserve in collaboration with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Department of Land Use Planning and the Geology Working Group covers all the aspects mentioned. UNESCO's instructions were carefully followed. The application explains in almost 50 pages the region's geological and cultural heritage, as well as the geoconservation, geotourism, geoeducation and economic efforts undertaken. Mëllerdall Nature Reserve has worked with actors in the region in all these areas, ever since the reserve was created. Consequently, many institutions and organisations in the region and beyond support the application for its recognition as a 'UNESCO World Geopark'.
Next step: Experts' visit in 2018
The application will be submitted this week. The next step will be the UNESCO experts' visit next year. In this context, the details of the application will be discussed with the UNESCO representatives.
UNESCO's decision will be published in April 2019.(Source: Press release from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure)