Whitestone Geopark Trustees are pleased to announce they have lodged the full application dossier to UNESCO in Paris to become a UNESCO Global Geopark. Co-chair Mike Gray said, “Big thanks to everyone who committed their time and expertise to this process! The application dossier will be up on the Geopark website on the 'Our UNESCO Story' page for those who wish to read it. ”
In April this year, the Trust postponed the application for UNESCO accreditation, in consultation with the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. This decision was made following recommendations made in a report commissioned by the Trust and written by Professor Patrick McKeever, a founding member of the Global Geopark Network who visited the WWG in February this year.
Over the last few months, the Geopark team has been busy working to improve on the aspects that Professor Patrick McKeever mentioned in his report. After receiving funding from Waitaki District Council, the Trust appointed a Geoeducator and a Geopark Coordinator, who undertake more community engagements, drive initiatives such as Geogastronomy, create more opportunities to educate the community about the role of geoparks, and what a Geopark will mean for Waitaki. The Geopark is now available on Apple and Android. A monthly newsletter and regular radio slot with Real Radio 104 keep the public up-to-date with all the exciting things happening.
“For now, we wait!” said Mr Gray. The proposed UNESCO Global Geopark documentation will be subjected to a desktop evaluation by the Paris Secretariat. If the application passes this test, two international evaluators will be sent to the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark to undertake a full site assessment before making a final recommendation to the Paris Secretariat regarding accreditation as a UNESCO Global Geopark.