We currently have two UNESCO Geoparks in Croatia: the Papuk Nature Park and the Vis Archipelago, and we will soon find out whether the Biokovo-Imotska Lakes Geopark will become the third UNESCO Geopark in Croatia. The boundaries of the future Biopark-Imotski Lakes Geopark have already been determined, and their total area is 431 km2, and they cover the areas of the municipalities of Imotski, Proložac, Podbablje, Zmijavce, Lokvičići, Lovreć, Zagvozd and Runovići. One of the main ways to stimulate the economy and sustainable development of the future UNESCO Geopark is through geotourism, he points out. Luka Kolovrat, president of the association Geopark Imotska jezera and adds that by raising awareness and educating about the importance of geological heritage, UNESCO geoparks give the local community a sense of pride and strengthen their identification with the area in which they live. PAPUK NATURE PARK THE FIRST CROATIAN GEOPARK UNDER UNESCO PROTECTION UNESCO Geoparks are unique geographical areas of international geological significance governed by a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Find out more about the Biokovo-Imotska Lakes Geopark application initiative with the aim of joining UNESCO Global Geoparks HERE In general, when we talk about the area that will include the future Biopark Biokovo-Imotska Lakes, it is an area that in addition to attracting attention with its relief and geomorphological forms, or numerous karst phenomena, adorns a great wealth of flora and fauna including many endemic species. In addition to the most attractive protected natural monuments and phenomena of world importance, Red and Blue Lakes, there is also the spring Krčevac, which is currently the only confirmed locality of the human fish (Proteus anguinus) in the Imotski region. There is also the Zovnjača cave in the municipality of Podbablje, which was recently established as an important archaeological and biospeleological site. Photo: Association Geopark Imotska jezera The network of UNESCO World Geoparks consists of areas of geological and geomorphological heritage of international importance, while the goal of the UNESCO World Geoparks program is to protect geological, geomorphological and other values of geoparks and manage the area through education and implementation of activities in accordance with sustainable development goals. and for the benefit of the local community. So far, numerous systematic and complex geological surveys have been carried out, monitoring is being carried out, the public is being educated, brochures, guides, manuals, educational materials, brochures, etc. have been printed. Precisely with the aim of protection, sustainable development and tourism, the Association Geopark Imotska jezera and the Public Institution Nature Park Biokovo launched an initiative for joint application and establishment of “Geopark Biokovo-Imotska lakes“With the aim of joining UNESCO Global Geoparks. The creation of a joint Geopark website is in progress, as well as the creation and marking of geo-trails, and a joint Facebook page has been created, which is updated daily, he points out. Ivana Capin from the Association Geopark Imotska jezera and adds: “Aware of the great potential of the area in which we live with all its features, together we embarked on this challenging project with the aim of becoming part of the international network of UNESCO Geoparks. As for our joint future activities, they are holding a presentation in November this year, then making a ten-year study with a management plan, and making and marking the geo-trail of the future Biokovo-Imotska Lakes Geopark. And most importantly, in the summer of 2021, the arrival of the Commission and evaluation is expected, and after that the accession to the network of world Geoparks under UNESCO protection.”Emphasizes Capin. “Our joint initiative stemmed from the fact that the Biokovo Nature Park and Imotski Krajina form a geologically, geomorphologically and landscape-unique area of the Dinaric karst, and our wish is to use the potentials of both areas for the benefit of the local community. Kolovrat points out. VISA ARCHIPELAGO BECAME THE SECOND UNESCO GEOPARK IN CROATIA RELATED NEWS: “Geoparks attract a large number of visitors with their activities and enable the launch of various production and service activities that contribute to the socio-economic development of the community. Not only geologically interesting places, but also various other ecological, archeological, historical and cultural sights contribute to geoparks, and they are supported and actively participated by local communities that know how to recognize and want to affirm their geological, historical and cultural heritage, mostly through the idea of geotourism.. The creation of innovative crafts and new jobs encourages the creation of new sources of income within geotourism, strengthens the local community, and at the same time the geological resources of the area remain protected.Kolovrat points out. Other sights include the Opačac spring, the Vrljika river, Ričice lakes, Galipovac, Knezovića and Mamića lakes, Prološko blato, Lokvičićka lakes, Dva oka and numerous other localities that were created during a long geological period by tireless work of water. The ichthyofauna of the Imotski region is significant for several protected endemic species, and some of them are soft-mouthed trout (Salmothymus obtusirostris), basak (Rutilus basak), Imotski gaovica (Delminichthys adspersus), makal (Squalius microlepis), Illyrian vijun (Cobitis il) dr.