This September, Adamello Brenta UNESCO Geopark in the Trento District of north-eastern Italy will play host to the 8th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, and Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark will be there! Two representatives from our local geopark initiative will be travelling to Italy this September to learn, network, and to represent our Temiskaming area at this week-long conference.
A component of the conference is a GeoFair, in which we have reserved a booth. Through this venue, we will be able to promote our Temiskaming geotourism products and services to the many participants coming from more than 30 countries around the world. The GeoFair will be open not only to conference participants, but to the general public as well.
Back in 2014, long-time project proponent Graham Gambles had attended the 6th International Conference, held at North America’s first UNESCO Global Geopark, Stonehammer, in Saint John, New Brunswick. Although he won’t be attending this year’s conference, he attests to the great value in participating. This year’s representatives will include Michael Werner, committee Chair, and Chandel Gambles.
During the conference, there will be an opportunity to explore the hosting Geopark. The core of the Adamello Brenta Geopark is comprised of two different mountain groups facing each other: the Trentino portion of the Adamello plutonic range and the Brenta Dolomites, a World Heritage Site since 2009. The two environments, although located a short distance apart and subject to similar past and present climate conditions, have experienced different geological histories and have highly different landscapes.
The International Conference On UNESCO Global Geoparks is held once every two years, and participation in mandatory for the 140 Global Geoparks certified by UNESCO. It is expected that there will be in excess of 800 people participating. “Geoparks and Sustainable Development” is the main theme of this year’s conference, and our representatives will be paying close attention to anything that can applied in Temiskaming.
Certain Geoparks lie within territories in which there was already a thriving tourist industry and come onto the scene offering an alternative form of tourism. As such, they find themselves in a situation of established well-being in which the local communities are used to taking full advantage of their resources in a manner that promotes their economy. Other Geoparks, conversely, need to establish new forms of tourism out of nothing and find themselves having to deal with the expectations of the local communities, which see these parks as sources of economic well-being.
The engagement and economic education of the local communities remain the keys for Geoparks to serve as innovative mechanisms of geoconservation, geotourism, and local sustainable development. The tools, conditions and ideas are there, so now it is important to think hard about the role Geoparks can play in pursuing sustainable development and about the synergies to be established with the host communities. (Excerpt from conference web site)
Our local committee has been working hard to get ready for the conference, and will continue right up until departure. Since this opportunity will not happen for another two years, we want to make the most of this occasion. The committee has been developing our local “branding”, including the development of a dedicated web site.
This year’s Italy trip was made possible through the generous financial support of a private benefactor.