A geopark should comprise of a territory with well-defined limits that has a large enough surface area for it to serve local economic development.
It comprises a certain number of geological heritage sites (on any scale) or a mosaic of geological entities of special scientific importance, rarity or beauty, representative of an area and its geological history, events or processes. It may not solely be of geological significance but also of ecological, archaeological, historical or cultural value.
The geoparks initiative was launched by UNESCO in response to the perceived need for an international initiative that recognizes sites representing an earth science interest. The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) provides a platform for cooperation and exchange between experts and practitioners in geological heritage, and its promotion. Under the umbrella of UNESCO, and through cooperation with the global network partners, important local and national geological sites gain worldwide recognition and benefit from the exchange of knowledge and expertise with staff from other geoparks.
UNESCO and the GGN develop models of best practice and set quality standards for territories that integrate the preservation of geological heritage into strategies for regional sustainable economic development. The establishment of a geopark aims to bring sustainability and real economic benefit to the local populations, usually through the development of sustainable tourism and other economic and cultural activities.