Global Network of National Geoparks

Geodiversity as part of the quality coast label

Published :April 7, 2008

H. Van den ancker1 & A. Salman2
Geoheritage NL. Oude Bennekomseweg 31, 6717 LM EDE, Netheriands
2EUCC director, PO Box 11232, 2301 EE Leiden, tel. 31-71-5122900, Netherlands

Keywords: Quality label, managemrnt, tourism, geoheritage, geodiversity

The success of the 'Blue Flag' inspired the European Union of Coastal Conservation (EUCC) to develop the Quality Coast Label as symbol for ecologically sound and attractive tourist development and proper coastal management. The Blue Flag is a symbol of beach resorts for hygienic quality and a wide spectrum of tourist facilities. EUCC has noticed that people screen the internet for blue flag sites, therefore local officials and politicians are keen to acquire this label for their resort. An illustration of its importance is the problem raised between the water management board and the community council of two beach resorts along the Dutch coast. During heavy rains polluted water is drained into the coastal waters, for which reason these resorts cannot acquire a blue flag. The community councils consider suing the water management board, but as both parties are governmental organizations this is a difficult matter.

EUCC agrees that geoheritage and geodiversity should be part of a quality coast label. In fact both aspects are part of their mission statement, but in practice the organization lacks the expertise to give this a follow-up. The EUCC is however interested in cooperating with European geo-networks in developing this matter. The Quality Coastal Label could include the establishment of a network of Geosites Monuments, areas which are too small to become a Geopark, an example being the granite exposure in the harbor of Oporto.

Of the European organizations in the field of geoheritage and geodiversity, the European Geopark Network seems to be best equipped to support the development of the Quality Coast Label. The European Federation of Geologists could contribute through scientific qualification and registration; ProGEO and the International Association of Geomorphologists have local scientific contacts of use.