The Burren and Cliffs of Moher are under review for re-designation as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
In June, an evaluation team from UNESCO spent five days in County Clare as part of the review process for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher’s redesignation as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Headed by Dr. Babis Fassoulas of the University of Crete and Adina Popa of Hațeg Country UNESCO Global Geopark in Romania, the team met with representatives of Clare County Council and the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, as well as local business and community representatives during the visit, which takes place every four years.
Led by Clare County Council, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark first achieved Global Geopark status in 2011 before the designation was fully incorporated by UNESCO in 2015 to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The last revalidation visit to the County Clare location took place in 2019, and officials are hoping that the Geopark will once again be successful this year.
Through its designation, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher region forms part of a global community of 195 UNESCO Global Geoparks across 48 countries, sharing knowledge and expertise on heritage management and sustainable development, leading to well-managed protected landscapes with preserved local heritage.
The Geopark plays a key role in ensuring tourism development across the Burren is delivered in a sustainable manner, said Cllr. Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council
“The designation of UNESCO Global Geopark status has been a hugely positive development for the region and the people who live and visit there, and I am confident the visiting UNESCO delegation will conclude that the Burren and Cliffs of Moher is a shining example within the Geopark network," he said.
More than 1,300 jobs are sustained by businesses in the Burren Ecotourism Network, partners of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, while many more are directly dependent on the sustainability of employment in other sectors that are related to tourism.
"Sustainability is at the heart of everything that the team at the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark has been working to achieve in recent years,” explained Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council.
“These efforts have been recognized locally, nationally and internationally, and Clare County Council is delighted to be able to support the Geopark and the wider community in promoting the sustainable management of this important and geologically significant region. Retaining UNESCO Global Geopark status is a key objective of Clare County Council and is a key cog of the County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030.”
Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, commented, “UNESCO Global Geopark status is more than a designation, it is membership of a worldwide network where knowledge sharing on heritage management and sustainable development takes a central role.
"This designation has acted as a catalyst for working towards sustainable, community-based tourism development of the Burren, using the already successful UNESCO brand as a mechanism for sharing these wonderful landscapes with the world.”
The UNESCO delegation’s visit to County Clare began on Thursday, June 22 with a presentation by the Geopark team in Ennistymon on the various developments since the last revalidation mission in 2019, and concluded on Monday, June 26 with a mission review with the Geopark team and Clare County Council’s Head of Tourism.
A decision on the redesignation of UNESCO Global Geopark status for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher is expected later this year.