Geopark selected for national pilot project

The Black Country Global Geopark has been selected to take part in a pilot project, which will help shape the future of UNESCO designated sites across the UK.

The geopark is one of three UK UNESCO designated sites to be chosen as part of the ‘Local to Global’ project. 

The project, led by the UK National Commission for UNESCO, is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

The other chosen sites taking part in the pilot are Antonine Wall, a World Heritage Site in Scotland and Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere, a Welsh Biosphere Reserve. Over the course of the next 18 months, UKNC will work with the pilot sites to look at the best way to create a resilient network of sites.

Its work will focus on how to better engage with audiences, how to make UNESCO sites financially sustainable and develop digital platforms.

It is hoped the results of the project will benefit all UK designated sites, with the added ambition of helping to achieve UNESCO’s 2030 sustainable development goals. Jane Lamine, strategic lead for the Black Country Global Geopark, said:

"Our greatest ambition is to engage with more people and celebrate the many geological, cultural and historical wonders of the Black Country. We are therefore delighted that the Black Country has been chosen as one of the pilot sites for this project.

"Having only been designated UNESCO status in 2020, we remain the newest site in the UK and are still in our infancy. We are the only urban geopark in the UK, so we are unique and feel we have a lot to offer and a lot to learn from being part of this project. We’re excited to see what the next 18 months will bring."

Kate Pugh, director for culture at the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said: "We are really excited that the Black Country Global Geopark is one of the pilot sites in a new project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

"Local to Global is a project which will help to develop a resilient network of UNESCO designated sites across the UK. The Black Country is important for its natural, cultural and industrial heritage, and this was recognised internationally with the UNESCO Global Geopark designation in 2020.

"Local to Global provides an opportunity to build on this, by increasing engagement with new audiences from the local area as well as visitors from further afield, to develop its digital and online presence, and to develop a fundraising strategy to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the site."

The geopark is led by all four Black Country authorities – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton as well as key partners including Natural England, the Canal and River Trust and the Wildlife Trust For Birmingham and the Black Country.


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