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Xiangxi Global Geopark wins the right to host the 2021 Annual Conference of UNESCO China’s Global Geoparks

At the closing ceremony of the 2020 Annual Conference of UNESCO China’s Global Geoparks held in Guangwushan-Nuoshuihe Global Geopark, Bazhong, Sichuan on October 27, 2020, Xiangxi Global Geopark won the right to host the 2021 Annual Conference.

The 2020 Annual Conference of UNESCO China Global Geoparks, guided by the Department of Natural Protected Areas Management of National Forestry and Grassland Administration and Sichuan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Management Bureau, and sponsored by National Geoparks Network Center, Global Geoparks Network Office and Bazhong Municipal People's Government, was jointly organized by Guangwushan-Nuoshuihe Global Geopark Management Office. The conference brought together the delegates from the global geoparks under UNESCO and the candidate global geoparks in China to share experiences and pursue sustainable development of global geoparks. During the meeting, Xiangxi Global Geopark, as a new member of global geoparks network, gave a brief introduction to other delegates.

With a total area of 2,710 square kilometers, Xiangxi Global Geopark spans seven counties and cities in Xiangxi from north to south, consisting of seven parks, namely Luota, Furong Town, Red Stone Forest, Lvdongshan, Aizhai, Shibadong and Tianxingshan. The geopark generally features four characteristics: (1) the GSSPs in the Cambrian system; (2) the world's largest Ordovician carbonate red stone forest; (3) spectacular landscape of incised plateau karst platform-canyon group; and (4) a model of integration of karst geological ecology and ethnic minority culture.

Since 2017 when Xiangxi launched the application for the global geopark status, it has strongly promoted the efforts of infrastructure development, popular science, research, cooperation and exchange. On July 7, 2020, at the 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board, Xiangxi Geopark was successfully listed in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, becoming the 40th Global Geopark in China. On September 23, 2020, the plaque of Xiangxi Global Geopark was officially unveiled.

The Annual Conference of UNESCO China’s Global Geoparks is the most influential event in terms of geoparks in China, which has been held continuously for 11 sessions. The hosting of 2021 Annual Conference in Xiangxi is expected to expand the influence of Xiangxi Global Geopark and advance the holistic tourism and high-quality economic development in Xiangxi.

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