ProGEO and its Major Project on Geoconservation in Europe


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Dr. Todor Todorov, ProGEO Past President, Sofia, Bulgaria

ProGEO was set up in 1988 in the Netherlands, and since then annual meetings and international symposiums have been held in Austria, Norway, France, Wales-England, Germany, Hungary, Finland-Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria, Spain, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Ukraine, Croatia, Germany and Italy.

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ProGEO and its Major Project on Geoconservation in Europe

  1. 1. ProGEO and its Major Project on Geoconservation in Europe Dr. Todor Todorov, ProGEO Past President, Sofia, Bulgaria
  2. 2. Topics for discussion My presentation will follow the next sequence of topics: What is ProGEO? Milestones in ProGEO history Geoparks ProGEO Projects Manual Project Conclusions Some picture illustrations (if the time allows it)
  3. 3. What is ProGEO? The European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage (ProGEO) is an association of the European conservationalists and geoscientists, involved in geology as researchers, planners, managers and educators. ProGEO was set up in 1988 in the Netherlands, and since then annual meetings and international symposiums have been held in Austria, Norway, France, Wales-England, Germany, Hungary, Finland-Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria, Spain, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Ukraine, Croatia, Germany and Italy. By 1993 the Association existed as European Working Group on Earth Science Conservation. In 1992,Weymouth, England, ProGEO was established as an association open to all. In 1993, the General Assembly in Germany approved its status but it was only in 2000 the ProGEO was officially registered in Sweden.
  4. 4. The work of the SE European ProGEOWorking Group known as ProGEO WG No.1 ProGEO is working by its Regional Working Groups. The first ProGEO Working Group for South-Eastern European countries was established in Bulgaria in 1995. Later, the second and the third ProGEO Working Groups for Central and East European, and North European countries were established, as well. Two years ago the Sout-Southwestern ProGEO WG was also created. In a separate ProGEO WG the Russian colleagues were also organized. WG1 was created during the First sub-regional meeting on Conservation of Geological Heritage, held in Bulgaria in 1995. All South-Eastern European countries attended it, incl. Turkey and Hungary, as well. The collaboration within the SEE region began since 1995. Following meetings subsequently were organized in Bulgaria (1996), Greece (2001), Turkey (2002), Romania (2003), Serbia (2004), Albania (2005), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2006), Slovenia (2007) and Croatia (2008)
  5. 5. First Outcomes Presentation and exchange of information on the National Geological Geosite and Framework lists and of national policies for conservation of geological heritage; Creation of the First Framework list of geological heritage for the region of the SEE countries, as a whole; Further development of bi- and multi-lateral contacts between the Balkan countries
  6. 6. What is ProGEO? ProGEO acts as a focal point to promote the conservation of Europes rich heritage of landscape, rock, fossil and mineral sites. It seeks to mobilise the expertise, enthusiasm and good will that exists among geoscientists, as well as to influence national and international policy makers, by initiating joint projects and schemes which demonstrate good conservation practice. ProGEO acts as an affiliated Association of the International Union of Geological Sciences and its membership is open to all; its Council members represent all the nations of Europe. ProGEO is an international body with the capacity to speak for those involved in geoconservation in Europe. Responsible for the selection and inventory of the geological heritage conservation on national and local levels are the National Groups of ProGEO. Similar groups were created and exist across all European countries.
  7. 7. ProGEO Objectives ProGEO aims to work towards an integrated European listing of outstanding geoscience sites; ProGEO enables full support to be granted to the work of all international bodies; ProGEO aims to achieve an integrated approach to nature conservation, promoting a holistic approach to the conservation of biological and physical phenomena;
  8. 8. ProGEO and International Actors Interaction with UNESCO for promoting the topics of the importance of geoconservation; The topics were included in the:1. Programmes of the 30th International Geological Congress in Beijing, China (1996);2. Program of the International Geological Congress held in Rio de Janeiro, Florence, Oslo and Brisbane; Regional organizations such as CBGA;1. Congresses in Vienna (1999), Bratislava (2002), Belgrade (2006) and Thessaloniki (2010);
  9. 9. Milestones in ProGEO History◊ 2012 Bari, Italy, VII International ProGEO Symposium on Conservation of Geoheritage, Sixth General Assembly;◊ 2010 Hagen, Germany, VI International ProGEO Symposium on Conservation of Geosites and Geoparks; 2008 Rab, Croatia, V International ProGEO Symposium on Conservation of the Geological Heritage. Fifth General Assembly. "Final declaration“; 2006 Kyiv, The Ukraine, ProGEO Symposium. "Safeguarding our Geological Heritage.European Protection Policies of the Geological Heritage – Theory and Practice."Fourth General Assembly; 2005 Braga, Portugal. IV International Symposium ProGEO"."On the Conservation of the Geological Heritage”; 2002 Dublin, Republic of Ireland - "Conference on Natural and Cultural Landscapes, the Geological Foundation" and The ProGEO Third General Assembly. "Declarations adopted by delegates at the Conference in Dublin C ; 2000 - Official registration of the Association in Sweden; 2000 Prague, Czech Republic;
  10. 10. Milestones in ProGEO History 1999 Madrid, Spain. Third International Symposium. “Towards the Balanced Management and Conservation of Geolofical Heritage in the New Milenium” 1998 Belogradchik, Bulgaria. "Geological Heritage of Europe"1997Tallinn, Estonia. The ProGEO Second General Assembly; 1996 Rome, Italy. II International Symposium. "On the Conservation of our Geological Heritage/ World Heritage: Geotope Conservation World-wide, European and Italian Experiences“ ; 1995 Sigtuna, Sweden and Finland; 1994 Budapest, Hungary; 1993 Mitwitz-Cologne, Germany. The ProGEO First General Assembly. The formal start for ProGEO and the adoption of Articles.
  11. 11. European Working group (EWGESC) Meetings 1992 Weymouth, England; 1991 Digne, France. I International Symposium. " Declaration of the Rights of the Memory of the “; 1990 Lom, Norway. Presentation of the Lom Articles; 1989 Bregenz, Austria; 1988 Workshop in Leersum, Holland. The first group, "The European Working Group on Earth-Science Conservation", was founded.
  12. 12. Geoparks Geoparks Program – a comprehensive, important and useful UNESCO Program in the field of Nature Conservation on European level as well as worldwild; Geoparks Program - Initiative of the Earth Sciences Division of UNESCO; ProGEO involvement plays a key role for the Program development; Geoparks are larger areas than the geosites, they include other assets of archeological, ecological, historical, or cultural values and can trigger economical development; Two Geopark Networks have been established and have proved to carry out serious work in selection, preservation and management of geoparks across Europe (EGN) and all over the world, as a whole (WGN).
  13. 13. ProGEO ProjectsTwo main and major projects so far: ‘Geosites Project’ (in cooperation with IUGS);(leader: Dr. Bill Wimbledon, UK) was interrupted some years ago but since next year it will be initiated again. Manual Project ‘Geoconservation in Europe’ ;(leader Dr. Todor Todorov, ProGEO past President, Bulgaria) is currently already finished and published as a book; ProGEO executes various projects and activities, such as GeoTrips and Geosites, other scientific and educational projects; Since 2009, journal “Geoheritage” (four issues per year) as well as the regular for many years editions “ProGEO News” (also four issues per year) have been published.
  14. 14. The Manual Project Initiated by one of founders of ProGEO – Dr. Gerard Gongrjip, 10 years ago; Objective: To produce and publish a manual, a comprehensive work summarizing the state of the art in the Conservation of the Geological Heritage of Europe in each of the European countries. Geological Heritage includes valuable landforms (geomorphology), geological outcrops and pedological features as well as sites related to subsoil features, named in total “geosites”; Motive: Such an overview is important for exchange of information between European Geoconservationists, as far as the current situation in the protection of the earth- science elements across Europe, is concerned. It will also form a basis for assessing the adequacy of present national laws on protection, and for the formulation of European conservation research program policy and code of practice.
  15. 15. The Manual Project Content of the Manual: The content of the Manual “Geoconservation in Europe” includes the following headings: Preface, Introduction, Country description with Evaluation of geoconservation in the 37 European countries, Towards and European policy; Content of headings for each country: Introduction, Legal base, Organizations and Policy, Sites selection, Registration, Protected sites/Protection, Management, Facilities: educational, interpretational/scientific and those intended for tourism, Conclusions, References, and Contact addresses.
  16. 16. The Manual Project State of the project: The work on the project has undergone many difficulties but at present the contributions from all European countries (without Moldova) have been collected. I am pleased to announce again the Manual Project finished and was publish as a Book. Distribution: The Manual will be a very important Book which has to reach the all Geological and Environmental Surveys, Organizations and Institutions, European bodies, individual experts and amateurs. Besides, it will also be disseminated in the countries worldwide with an aim to promote the activity and achievements of ProGEO in the conservation of the Geological Heritage in the countries of Europe.
  17. 17. Conclusions The geoconservation and its integration into nature conservation in different European countries is developed to very different levels; The European countries have different histories related to geoconservation and the legislation is diverse; integrating the national lists of geosites, which will present thus a tool for international measures and further inspire local and national efforts; Developing of new strategies and introduction of new terminology, such as geodiversity, providing thus a possibility for greater influence for geoconservation; an increased integration with the general nature conservation strategies and greater possibilities for integration of geoconservation in land use planning.
  18. 18. For your feedback Thank you for your kind attention !  Dr.Todor Todorov ProGEO webpage: