Newry, Mourne and Down District Council was represented among 800 delegates at the recent 8th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks in Italy.

The delegation, comprising of senior UNESCO officials, scientists, policy makers, government representatives and local communities from all over the globe, gathered at the Adamello Brento UNESCO Global Geopark to discuss sustainable development and the activities of the Global Geopark Network.

At the conference, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland presented an abstract on the proposed Geopark in Mournes, Ring of Gullion and Strangford Lough – the ‘Two Oceans’ Geopark, providing an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness of the proposals within to UNESCO.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “The Conference offered an excellent platform to share the story of the aspiring Two Oceans Geopark to an international audience and highlight the rich geology of the region as well as the benefits Geopark status will provide to the area through geotourism.”

Cllr Murnin continued, “This was an excellent occasion which allowed us to network and exchange innovative and best practice approaches with Geoparks around the world.”

Since March 2017 the Aspiring Geopark Project Team at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, in partnership with Geological Survey Northern Ireland, has undertaken delivery of an intensive communications plan involving various community roadshows, attendance at farmers’ markets, agricultural shows, the Council’s Giant Adventure programme of events, and a series of specific geology related seminars. The coming months will see a programme of educational activities held across the Council area. To keep up to date with all that’s happening, please follow our facebook page on Geotourism in Mourne, Gullion and Strangford or for specific queries email geopark@nmandd.org.