Certifications and awards


The GGN is the World Network of UNESCO Geoparks


161 Geoparks in the world in 44 Member States
Here is the map of Geoparks in the World.
Here is the list of Geoparks of the World.
The Metalliferous Hills Geopark – Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark has been part of the world network of Geoparks since 2010. Initially established in 2004, the network is under the patronage of UNESCO. The Global Geoparks Network is UNESCO’s official partner for the operation of UNESCO Global Geoparks. The GGN was initially founded in 2004 as an international partnership developed under the patronage of UNESCO and its aim is to develop models of good practice and establish quality standards for territories that integrate the conservation of Earth heritage sites into a strategy for sustainable local and regional economic development. Networking and collaboration are important components of the Global Geoparks Network. Since 17 November 2015, the Geoparks Network has joined the UNESCO International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). The GGN continues to expand, acquiring new stimuli, skills and knowledge from all parts of the world thanks to the contribution of the different perspectives and cultures represented in the network. The aim of the GGN is for members to assist each other in promoting and supporting sustainable development patterns and a sense of belonging in order to ensure the overall high quality of the network’s ecosystem services.

As partners in the Global Geoparks Network, members are expected to spread the geopark concept all over the world, where sustainable tourism, such as that developed within Geoparks, leads to the creation of decent jobs in local communities, and works for their benefit. The GGN provides a platform for cooperation and exchange between experts and professionals dealing with geological heritage and its promotion. Under the UNESCO umbrella, and through cooperation with partners, important local and national geological sites can gain worldwide recognition and benefit from the exchange of knowledge and expertise. The Geosites of the Parco delle Colline Metallifere – Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark are now also known worldwide. UNESCO and GGN are committed to developing models of good practice and quality standards for territories that integrate geological heritage conservation into strategies for sustainable local economic development. The establishment of a Geopark aims at making sustainability a real economic benefit for local populations, through the development of sustainable tourism and other economic, social and cultural activities.

EGN (European Geopark Network) The European network has 81 parks in 26 member states



As at April 2018, there were 140 Network parks in 38 Member States

Here is the map of European Geoparks

The world network of UNESCO Geoparks is divided into regional networks. The Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN), Latin America and Caribbean Geopark Network, Africa (there are Geoparks in Tanzania and Morocco, Canada (The United States has not joined the network), the European Geoparks Network (EGN). The primary mission of the European network is to support the sustainable development of the geopark territory, enhancing the geological heritage of the area, mainly through the development of geotourism. The aspiration is to promote geotourism on a European scale. The network is responsible for monitoring the operations and services offered by its members, with the aim of promoting the image of the “European Geoparks” as a high quality brand related to geotourism.

The management structures of the Geoparks are responsible for developing a management and action plan that must describe the functioning and activities of its members and must refer to the following themes: the identification and evaluation of representative geological heritage sites, the validation of natural and cultural heritage elements, the protection of geosites and their geo-conservation, the implementation and maintenance of infrastructures and activities related to the interpretation of geological heritage, the care of infrastructures and activities related to geotourism, activities and tools in the field of environmental education, activities to promote the area, support for local businesses, monitoring activities and international relations.



The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (CETS) is a methodological tool and a certification recognised by the Europarc Federation to improve the management of protected areas for the development of sustainable tourism.

The core element of the Charter is the collaboration between all stakeholders in the area to develop a common strategy and an Action Plan for sustainable tourism development, starting from an in-depth analysis of the local situation, based on 10 Principles set out in the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism and 5 thematic areas.

How it was born

CETS is part of the global and European priorities. These are the recommendations of Agenda 21, adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and the 5th Community Programme of Action for Sustainable Development. It is also part of the priorities of the “parks for life” action programme of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
It also conforms to the principles set out in the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism, drawn up in Lanzarote in 1995.

CETS has been developed by the EUROPARC Federation. A politically independent European organisation made up of management bodies and specialists from more than 400 national protected areas in over 35 countries. In fact, it is the compulsory reference for the tourism policy of the protected areas of the European Union.
This is the result of an initial reflection, initiated in 1991 by the Europarc Federation, which led to the publication of the report “Loving them to death“.

What it is

The objective is the protection of the natural and cultural heritage and the continuous improvement of tourism management in the protected area for the benefit of the environment, the local population, businesses and visitors.

In order to obtain the charter certification by the Europarc Federation, an in-depth candidacy document must be submitted analysing the state of the environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of the territory and build a group of stakeholders called Forum, which at the moment in the Parco delle Colline Metallifere has about 100 members.

The CETS Forum

The Forum is made up of all those who engage or want to engage with an Action under the Action Plan: the so-called CETS actors. The Plan and the process are inclusive, so that in addition to monitoring the implementation process of the envisaged Actions, other actions may be included during the five-year planning period, with the agreement of the Forum.

Members of the CETS Forum are citizens, entrepreneurs, volunteers, associations, sports groups, cooperatives, guides, restaurateurs, hoteliers, bikers, local administrators, park management and staff.

The Park has focused on the participatory method inspired by the methods borrowed from the Cooperative Learning Approach, making it one of the foundations of its action in close relationship with the territory, its administrators, entrepreneurs and all its inhabitants.

The aim is to work together to ensure that strategies for fair, sustainable and dignified development are the result of participatory and inclusive processes.

The three phases of CETS

The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism includes three phases:

  • Phase I: Sustainable tourism for the protected area;
  • Phase II : Sustainable tourism for local tourism businesses located in or near the protected area;
  • Phase III: Sustainable tourism for tour operators operating in the protected area.

CETS in the Metalliferous Hills National Park

The Park started this process in 2013 and presented its first Action Plan the following year. The five-year plan (2014 – 2018) consisting of 46 actions plus 25 additions made during the course of the project has seen the majority of actions implemented (86%).

The First Action Plan can be downloaded here: First CETS Action Plan European Charter for Sustainable Tourism – PHASE I Metalliferous Hills Park – Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark

The Second Plan was submitted in 2019 and will be in force until 2023.
The Plan can be downloaded here: Second CETS Action Plan European Charter for Sustainable Tourism PHASE I Metalliferous Hills Park – Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark.



EDEN, European Destinations of Excellence

In 2006, the European Commission launched the pilot project EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence) to promote emerging destinations that have developed a tourism offer in line with the social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism. Each year, destinations are selected in participating Member States to be proposed as examples of good practice in sustainable tourism. With this initiative, the Commission aims at:

strengthening the visibility of European tourist destinations; raising awareness of the diversity and quality of European tourism;

promoting all European regions; encouraging the decongestion and de-seasonalisation of tourist flows;

creating a platform for the exchange of best experiences;

promoting networking between selected destinations; stimulating other destinations to choose sustainable development models.

In Italy the selection is carried out by a National Evaluation Committee, chaired by the Department for the Development and Competitiveness of Tourism of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Between 2007 and 2011, 30 destinations were selected in Italy, including 5 winning destinations and 25 runners-up in the various thematic editions. The Metalliferous Hills National Park was Runner Up in 2011.