Another eight sites demonstrating the great diversity of geology have officially received the Global Geopark label, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced here on Friday.
The decisions were made by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council during its first session in Torquay, Britain, last September, and endorsed by the executive board of the UN agency on Friday.
China and Mexico each boast two sites on the list, namely Arxan in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Keketuohai in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Comarca Minera in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, and Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca in Mexico's mountainous Sierra Madre del Sur province.
The other four sites are Causses du Quercy in France, Cheongsong in the Republic of Korea, Las Loras in Spain and Qeshm Island in Iran.
With this year's eight additions, the world network now numbers 127 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 35 countries.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development, the UN agency said in a press release.
They help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters and many of them help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies, it added.