The CEI-funded conference organised by Makgeopark (NGO Stenae) and the Municipality of Demir Kapija, North Macedonia on 6 - 8 May, witnessed the participation of representatives from existing UNESCO geoparks from CEI Member States as well as experts in field of geodiversity and environmental sciences. The former presented their respective parks, the latter had the chance to share ideas, knowledge and networking opportunities covering topics such as: disaster risk reduction, vulnerability of heritage to climate change and anthropogenic influence aiming towards circular economy and sustainable tourism, as well as various resilience strategies in geoparks.
The keynote speakers were: Peter Burns (UNWTO), Anna Kaiser (Danube Krems, ICOMOS), Charalampos Fassoulas (Greece), Piero Giannola (Italy), Ivan Blinkov and Ivica Milevski (North Macedonia) and Angelka Mihajlov (Serbia).
The gathering was complemented with various field visits to geosites with significant geological, natural and cultural heritage also in the Gevgelija municipality and Kozuf mountain.
A Memorandum of Understanding was eventually signed by the representatives of the geoparks, aimed at enhancing cooperation as well as creating a cross-border networking platform. An idea for Regional Geoparks Database Networking was also promoted.
Mr. Charalampos Fassoulas, vice-president of European Geoparks Network, expressed hope that a couple of new Geoparks from the Balkan region would soon be part of the European and UNESCO Geoparks family.