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Hello everyone !

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It's been 9 years now that Aso was designated as a Japanese Geopark. 4 years ago, it became a part of the Global Geopark network. In 2015 this network became the Unesco Global Geopark network giving to the public a better understanding of the importance of these geoparks. As written on the Unesco official website: 
"Unesco Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular." You can check more directly on their website via this link: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/earth-sciences/unesco-global-geoparks/

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But being part of this valuable network is nothing definitive. Every 4 years you need to pass some kind of reevaluation where you have to show that your still working at maintaining these important links between man and nature as well as protecting it. Two days ago we had the visit of two Geoparks official coming from the United States and China. One of the reasons they came at Michi no Eki Aso is that we are also working to fulfill these previous conditions. We help local communities protecting Aso's nature and history and we are working at promoting the area. We also have various local products on sell here coming directly from the producers. 

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During their visit they also came to our information desk, checking the different brochures in different languages that are available here. I had the opportunity to speak with them a little explaining what are the main questions coming from foreign visitors. I think these two officials are still in Aso and I really hope they will give their green light for Aso still being a part of the Unesco Global Geopark network. But working in Aso for now more that 4 years now and seeing everyone's effort to recover from Kumamoto earthquake, I have no doubt this evaluation will go well. Before they leave we also had the surprise of seeing Kumamon who came to greet them :) 

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See you soon in Aso!

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Franck

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