Subject: IGC Florence August 2004
Date: 1 de Janeiro de 2003
From: Bill Wimbledon

Dear friends,
We agreed in Dublin to hold our next European meeting and conference as part of the IGC in Florence in August 2004. This is to remind you that for International Geological Congresses there is a support programme for travelling geologists from the countries. This "host" programme will be run by the Italian organisors. There will be advertising about the Host Programme in the next IGC circular (expected in ?April). We should make as much use of this Host Programme as possible, to make sure our ProGEO members get to Florence. We can maximise attendence if those wishing to go to our ProGEO meetings are funded by the IGC organisors. I will contact you again on this matter. At this stage it is important that all volunteer to their National Commitee for geology to be supported to represent their country at the IGC. You can apply to IGC organisors, but you must have an endorsement from the national committee to be successful.
best wishes
Bill W.A.P. Wimbledon

Subject: European Union 6th Framework programme
Date: 1 de Janeiro de 2003
From: Bill Wimbledon

Dear friends,
I wrote concerning this a few days ago, and I then attached the proposal we put forward to the EU for ProGEO. We now need the EU to select this in the next round of topics. So, some advertising in the countries is needed. It seems that one way to promote the project is to contact the correct people in the ministry responsible for EU programmes and trans-European collaboration. You know who these people are in your capital city. They can apply pressure in Brussels, through officials, through MEPs, through the Commission. Bureaucrats in Brussels are linked to their home country and home ministries.
I am sure it would be beneficial if country ProGEO representatives promoted our project proposal. This they can do by asking ministry colleagues to write to the programme organisors (and national contacts ) in Brussels. It is necessary to say simply that Europe needs a collaborative project on geoconservation, like the one ProGEO has advertised on the the EU 6th Programme web site.
best wishes
Bill W.A.P. Wimbledon

Subject: ProGEO: European Union 6th Framework programme
Date: 13 de Dezembro de 2002
From: Bill Wimbledon

Dear friends,

Last summer at the regional meeting in Turkey there was compiled an outline proposal for the EU 6th Framework Programme: this was submitted by Dr Kazanci on our behalf, to meet a time deadline. The expression of interest, as it is called, can be seen on the FP6 pages on the web:

The outline I wrote is repeated below. We submitted a title : "Building a liaison network for geoconservation in Europe, and thus spreading good practice in conservation, education/training and geotourism" under the EU applicable instrument "Network of Excellence"in Thematic priority 7 " Knowledge-based society and social cohesion". Such a project as proposed would enable us to build networks of participants in countries and share good practice, site related (selection, protection, management), informational (web-sites for instance), and educational - it could also have great sustainable development implications. Also it would faciliate regional, national and local meetings and to produce all manner of data and didactic materials. Geotourism overlaps with all of this.

In a few days, the EU will publish on its web site the Work Programme for the first round of implementation of FP6, for proposals of detailed projects to be made by March. This is the list of refined areas, on which the EU wishes to concentrate in the first instance. I have seen the draft topics and they do not cover our interests, they are mostly simply social and political. They are due to appear on the web on 17 December.

best wishes
Bill Wimbledon

The geological heritage of Europe is a non-renewable resource (ProGEO Digne Declaration 1991). In recognition of this fact, geologists in geological surveys, government nature conservation agencies, universities, etc. formed ProGEO: the aim being to share best practice and to support weaker partner countries, where geoconservation was absent or poorly developed. Three ProGEO international symposia (Digne, Roma and Madrid: references attached) have discussed and devised methodologies for identification, protection, management and interpretation of key elements of our geoheritage (geosites). In collaboration with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) (and UNESCO), ProGEO has devised methods for comparative assessment of key sites enabling, for the first time, an understanding of the global significance of geosites across Europe. This proposal builds on this success, refining common standards and introduces schemes to interpret sites, create trials and promote simple and focussed materials on practical site management. Education and geotourism and the sustainable development of this irreplaceable resource in the local community context should not be disregarded.
Dissemination of materials is key to this project. This widens the linkage to non-scientists and is the complement to scientific networking and pure conservation aims. The project would enhance the heritage of each country, would promote cross-border linkages (common labelling of sites, common management techniques, common trails, common approaches/promotion of geotourism) and would bring greater appreciation in communities of their countries' heritage.

"The only record of the history of our planet lies in the rocks beneath our feet: rocks and the landscape are the 'memory' of the Earth. Here, and only here, is it possible to trace the processes, changes and upheavals which have made our planet over thousands of millions of years: the more recent part of this record, of course, includes the evolution of life, including Man. The record preserved in the rocks and landscape is unique, and much of it is surprisingly fragile. Today it is threatened more than ever. What is lost can never be recovered, and therefore there is an urgent need to understand and protect what remains of this our common heritage."

In the last ten years, ProGEO, the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage, has created a conservation movement in Europe and been the primary catalyst for ideas: inventing a new terminology - geodiversity, geosites, geoheritage, geoconservation - which is now used every day. It put geological sites and geoconservation considerations within the Council of Europe's Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. Through its continental and regional meetings it shares data and best practice (

The aim of this proposal is to share know-how that exists in a range of fields - on selecting, managing, protecting and sustainably using the cream of Europe's geological heritage sites. Much expertise exists in west, east and central Europe on protecting and interpreting internationally and nationally significant geosites (Black & Gonggrijp 1990: Gisotti & Zarlenga 2000; Alexandrowicz 1999: Zagorchev 1996: Wimbledon et al. 1995: Ishchenko et al 1999: Johansson 2000: Barettino et al. 2000), and also in safeguarding though planning systems and by means of practical hands-on management. The project's primary aims are to establish a framework of key sites for geoheritage in Europe, and to do this though a network of scientists and others in all the countries. This network is already in part formed (Ishchenko et al. 1999).

As a follow up, the establishment of a ring of geosites having been completed, the results will be disseminated and documented. This is for three purposes, to build and maintain common good practice, but also to involve national officials and local communities, sharing science with them and placing geoheritage on the educational agenda in holistically conserving a shared European heritage. In addition, management planning procedures will be refined and then promoted (concise short-format management plans), in conjunction with sustainable on-site interpretation of selected identified geosites, with trail production, thus furthering the parallel promotion of geotourism.

Thus a scientific and conservationist networking ring will be consolidated in Europe, and this used to promote common approaches to
management, and then education and tourism.

Since biodiversity is developed on a geological basement, it is often very logical to explain and protect animate nature together with geology and geodiversity, including physical landscapes. Ecotourism should aim to protect natural and cultural diversity and natural areas of great value (for flora, fauna and geology) and at the same time sustain the well being of local people and their surroundings. In some countries the geological resource which is primarily responsible for creating scenery and landscape is being degraded by tourism, with loss of the heritage and the loss of livelihood for local communities.

In many countries, the touristic sector is concentrating on mass tourism. Governments spend money for infrastructure - motorways, airports, hotels, etc. - and neglect the support of ecotourism (e.g.creation of family-run pensions, rejuvenation of traditional houses as bases, education of professional tourist guides to be ecoguides) and the well-being of sites. However, in the last decade people have learned much more about nature and geological heritage, but in some countries this heritage is still not always used properly (sustainably) or fully. It has been proved that as soon as local people are informed about the meaning of the geological heritage (their heritage) and its value in creating wealth for communities, they will protect it and will begin to use it in a sustainable manner.
The project includes an educational part; and this can be implemented in two different ways:

1) training local people in the meaning of the geological heritage and informing them of the value of this heritage in sustainable tourism, and educating the professional tourist guides to become geologically-aware ecoguides.
2) training the trainers, the teachers of the country/area, to instil a knowledge of the value of science and scientific sites

The project consists of the following stages, in approximate order, but with multiple feedback loops (repeating or refining various stages):

1. Fill out and improve functionality of the geoconservation liaison network in Europe. Enhance cross-border networking. Outputs to build and inform the growing liaison network via a website.

2. Fully implement and improve selection-framework identification and characterisation: this framework will be the context for evaluation of European geosites (Ishchenko et al. 1998 Belogradchik paper). Output in website.

3. Complete dissemination of the methodology (and criteria) for Geosite selection, and convene enlarged national and cross-border groups,
supported by specialists, to rationalise local suggestions. Publications in print and through Website.

4. Select final listings (and publish) geosite lists in all countries: European geosite list finalised and published.

5) Construction of a cross-linked website (with all constituent agencies (geological surveys, conservation agancies, etc.) showing evolving and concluding criteria, methodology, database classification, documentation of underlying science, and the framework comparisons between countries,

6. Development of best practice in geosite management - "management planning". Hold a workshop on best practice. Dissemination of a standard short-format planning system for sites, based on present best practice, giving practical guidance for all.

7. Initiation of training on management planning in the countries, production of training materials

8. Material on global network disseminated to planning authorities as well as communities via national networks so as to achieve maximum protection.

9. Contact relevant tourist organisation/authorities and input results from Geosites programme, making linkages with ecotourism in the wider sense. National groups to initiate trails with common themes, logo etc - promoting best sustainable use of key international sites for education and tourism.

10. Training local people in the meaning of the geological heritage and informing them of the value of this heritage in sustainable tourism, and educating the professional tourist guides to become geologically-aware ecoguides.

11. Training the trainers, the teachers of the country/area, to instil a knowledge of the value of science and scientific sites (Drandaki 2000). Attractive and informative materials will be produced for: local geosites, promoting educational activities, events (e.g. Geotrip), on-site training (including pre-preparation and follow-up exercises); and the creation of an interactive website. One element in particular would be training in the production of instructive signage and leaflets that relate geodiversity and geoscience to conservation as a social necessity.

12. Follow-up research to test the needs and responses of local communities, to assess consensus, and examine critically the balance of all local environmental influences on sites and populace.


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