On November 17th, UNESCO – the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture – announced a new programme that creates UNESCO Global Geoparks. This is the first new UNESCO programme to be established in over 40 years and puts the Global Geoparks, which formerly operated with UNESCO's informal support, alongside UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in status.
Seven geoparks in the UK have been granted UNESCO recognition under the new programme. Two of these, Geopark Shetland and North West Highlands Geopark, are in Scotland. The others are English Riviera, North Pennines, Fforest Fawr, GeoMôn and Marble Arch Caves.