International Forum on Geoparks: Interpretation and Sustainable Development was held successfully at Yuntaishan Global Geopark, Xiuwu County, Henan Profvince from 11-14 October,2007.
The themes of the forum is to profmote the research about interpretation and sustainable development in Geoparks ,to share information and experiences on Interpretation system and sustainable development of Geoparks ; to identify major challenges about interpretation and sustainable development that Geoparks are facing and ways to overcome such challenges; to facilitate communication and networking among geographers and educators about Geoparks;to raise public awareness on interpretation and sustainable development in Geoparks.
The forum was co-organized by College of Geography,Beijing Normal University and Xiuwu County government and operated by Environment & Heritage Interpretation Center of Beijing Normal University and Yuntanshan Global Geopark Management Bureau. The forum also got the support from International Geographical Union (IGU), Geographical Society of China (GSC),University of Missouri -St.Louis,National Association for Interpretation (NAI),Grand Canyon National Park, ICOMOS, National Park Service in USA etc.
33 Foreign experts from 6 countries participated in the forum, such as the President of IGU Prof. Dr. Jose Luis Palacio-Prieto (Mexico), the Vice President of IGU Prof. Dr. Ronald Francis Abler (USA), the Vice President of IGU Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Tanabe (Japan), the Vice President of IGU Prof. Dr. Lindisizwe M. Magi (South Africa), the Secretary -general of IGU Prof. Dr. Woo-ik Yu (South Korea), the Executive Director of the America National Association for Interpretation Dr. Tim Merriman, the Vice Executive Director of the America National Association for Interpretation Ms.Lisa Brochu, the Vice President of IGU Prof. Dr. Liu Changming, Vice president of Geographical Society of China Prof. Dr. Qin Dahe, Prof. Dr. Cui Zhijiu from Peking University, the governor of Xiuwu County Wei Fengshou and Ms.Chi Jun and so on. Prof.Wang Min chaired the keynote speeches.
Participants discussed themes as ‘Current Trends of Interpretation in the World’, ‘Status Quo of Interpretation in Chinese Geoparks’, ‘Comparison Between Grand Canyon National Park and Yuntaishan Global Geopark’, ‘Leadership and the Sustainable Development of Geoparks’, ‘The Sustainable Tourism of Geoparks’, ‘The Interpretation System of Geoparks’, ‘The Establishment of International Net of Interpretation and Sustainable Development on Geoparks’.
Because of the cooperation of Beijing Normal University and Grand Canyon National Park, Prof.Wang Min helped to profmote the sister park relationship between Yuntaishan Geopark and Grand Canyon National Park. Prof. Dr. Wang Min and Dr. Wei Dongying organized a delegation of Yuntaishan Geopark to visit Grand Canyon in America from 3-6,April,2007 and discussed the formal cooperation between two parks with the management staffs in Grand Canyon National Park. On August 27, the superintendents of two parks signed the MOU of sisterpark relationship in Conference hall of the People. The two parks will communicate and cooperate on the fields of administration model, park planning, popularizing science knowledge, interpretation service and employee training etc in the future.
The Center of Environmental and Heritage Interpretation in Beijing Normal University actively attends the international interpretation research and practice, and cooperates with government, IGU, National Association for Interpretation, and Chinese Geoparks. It tries its best to set up an interpretational communication platform and introduce international interpretation system and experience to China. The Center has done some programs about interpretation, like the evaluation of Interpretation system of Yuntaishan Geopark, research on interpretive planning in Chinese museums, interpretation in Chinese world heritage sites( Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Heaven Temple etc), Interpretive planning of Beijing Zoo etc. The Center also establishes a cooperation mechanism of high education-local government- scenic area, and the results are effective. This forum is the recent outcome of the Center and means a new stage of interpretation development in China.
After the conference, all experts visited Yuntai Mountain Scenic Area, such as Red Rock Gorge, Zhi Fang Lake, Tanpo Valley, Macaque Valley, Zhu Yu Peak, Die Cai Holes, Qing Long Valley. They appreciated the beautiful landscape and its good administration. And also they put forward some comments and suggestions about the interpretation system of Yuntaishan Geopark and these will help the sustainable development of Yuntaishan Global Geopark.