Geopark project organisation

Projet Coordinator : Pr. Yves Girault (, National Museum of Natural History, UMR PALOC.

Isabelle Brianso, from 1st January 2015 to 1st March 2016, then, Yi Du, from March 1st 2016 assisting the professor Yves Girault in the coordination of the project and more specifically in the monitoring of group activities.

Administrative secretariat manager : Hatoumatha Konte (

Office management  : Ludivine Goisbault (

Communication webmaster / blog manager : Ana Cristina Villegas Calderon.

Web project manager : Stéphanie Targui.

Head of Grant Office : Vanessa Demanoff.

PhD Students Beneficiaries : 

  • MNHN :  Catalina Gonzalez, Yi Du, Yannick Ekobevet Allogo.
  • UAB : Joan Poch.
  • UCA : Aït-Nicer Mariam, Khalid El Housni,  Khadija Bratti, Ali Aouada, Ayoub Elouarti, Sana Gebrati, Mariam Benkhallouq,  Sara Lafraoui, Noufissa Ouyachou,  Hanane Bouaabid.

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GEOPARK project is organised into 4 Work Packages (WP) with a clear identity for each of them in order to reach the final aim of the project: creation of a Geopark-innovative methodology for developing countries based on Valley of Zat (Morocco) case study and consortium experience (research & education).
  • WP1 is focused on Earth and Life sciences with main expertise on geology, palaeontology, biodiversity and ecology.
  • WP2 is focused on Humanities sciences: social, gender and local development (tourism, heritage) aspects as an integrated and sustainable process. Genders aspects in Atlas Mountains will be a top priority of the project.
  • WP3 is focused on higher-education through a distance learning Master (II) programme as a transversal and interdisciplinary education programme based on expertise and transfer of knowledge of all partners.
  • WP4 is focused on dissemination and management in order to diffuse scientific results to research community (publications, conferences, inventories, etc.) and non-specialists (exhibition, multimedia tools, etc.) through the multilingual website.

UAB-logoWP 1 : Geology, Biodiversity and Environment
Lead participant Prof. Jose Luis Briansó (General coordinator of WP1) 

Objectives :

Contributing to the inventory of all geological-environmental goods including biodiversity with the ultimate goal of being able to submit a robust candidature for the nomination, of Atlas case study (Zat Valley), as new candidature of Geopark (after the end of the project), developing the following activities under WP1: 1). Inventory and valorisation of geological and biological values in order to determine the integrated natural and cultural heritage, which characterizes the territorial identity (basis of the Geopark Project), including natural conservation measures. 2). Inventory of environmental weaknesses/menaces and proposal of prevention and recovering measures in order to assure sustainability of the economic activities proposed. 3). Elaboration of dissemination material related to geological, biological and environmental values in order to have a data base accessible to the decision makers (land use and territory planning) and to the management body of the Geopark project.4) Training and Education activities, oriented to students and civil population. This innovative approach include social sciences, economic aspects, living conditions of local populations, traditional houses and his building materials (clay and rocks) etc.

This WP1 in the first step of the proposal and integrates, in harmonic way, with the other complementary ones. This WP1 it is an important and basic Work-Package because is associated with studies of geology-environment-biodiversity, by developing a very relevant and crucial research studies for a future Geo-Park nomination. In Africa continent don’t exist any Geopark (End April 2014). As explaining above, in the objectives, this approach is a very innovative, multidisciplinary and relevant, because is associated to socioeconomic sciences, ethnography, art, local traditions and the overall living conditions of local populations. In fact the project is a clear cross cutting study, each WP is relevant for the final objective: Geopark nomination. The WP1 is divided into two main tasks: 1) the general study of geological-environmental scope and 2) the scope of the biodiversity. In turn, each of the two main tasks are subdivided into several sub-tasks according to the research work focused on specific aspects of environmental-geological areas and specific scopes of biodiversity.

UCAM_LogoWP 2 : Heritage and Geo-development (Tourism, Social, Territory)
Lead participant Prof. Ouidad Tebbaa (UCAM) (General coordinator of WP2)

Objectives :

This WP has various research and transversal objectives in strong connection with other WP: (1) Contribute, together with other partners and WPs, to the inventory, especially all assets related to the Heritage of the Zat Valley (natural, cultural, social and historical), forms as a means of livelihood for local communities, the impacts on the environment and pathways of the historic site to the knowledge of the environment of the Geopark (2) Consider and propose valid solutions to a patrimonialization, which could ensure the sustainability of the rock and heritage and the sites that include it and do the study, with non-destructive physico-chemical means, on the conservation of rock engravings in order to provide sustainable solutions (3) Consider and create a document on possible forms of tourism enhancement for the engravings to make them integrated into the processes of social and territorial development of the Zat valley (4) Develop an action plan based on the gender policy for the training of women and youth in educational technology and training in association with the environment and traditional culture of the Zat Valley (5) Help local actors to position themselves in relation to the proposed Geopark.
This WP as a strong complementary approach (research, education, dissemination) with the other WPs in the process of reflection on the model of Geopark to develop fragile, but very rich in specific and great value heritage, regions. It prioritizes research around the issue of social development, heritage and tourism development in a tourist area ranked first in Morocco. Tourism is currently a strategic sector in Morocco because the stakes are high for the development of human capital and the economic and social transmission of knowledge between individuals, groups, regions, countries and generations. In synergy with the other teams of WPs, it will work towards the development of strategic frameworks and actions to make of heritage and tourism a development tool, able to contribute to poverty reduction in the High Atlas mountains and especially in the Zat valley, a place of existence of a major park of rock engravings. Social inclusion of women (gender policies) is an important aspect in the context of our proposal, especially taking into account the new job opportunities if the Zat Valley is listed by UNESCO as a Geopark. The new educational and information technologies, maybe simple yet effective, and the knowledge of the environment and traditional culture of the area (strengths, weaknesses and opportunities) are key aspects in this framework.

MNHN_logo_2014_NBWP3 : Higher-Education in Geopark Issues
Lead participant Prof Yves Girault (General coordinator WP3)


The main objective of this WP is to strengthen European & Moroccan education programmes (LMD) and capacities building (students and professionals) in Geoparks taking into account local features and issues as a systemic approach (heritage, territory, geology, tourism, sustainability, development, populations).

There is no specialized Master’s degree (Europe/Morocco) or higher training courses on issues related to Geoparks (management, conservation, development). Nevertheless, an intensive course is organised every year (September) in Lesvos Island (Greece) within the framework of European Geopark Network – 7th edition in 2014. It is a specialized course in English (60 hours) organised with the support of UNESCO, but without giving a European degree (LMD) to participants. Our concern would be to set up with the consortium a Master programme (distance) through the MNHN platform as a productive and long-term interaction result from each partner involved into GEOPARK project. Based on the higher education experience of each academic partner (Partner: 1, 2 and 4), the Master programme (distance) will be oriented on local heritage (research) and technical issues (management, candidature process, etc.) with the support of Partner 3 as a specialised agency (private sector) in geology services with great experience on evaluation and candidatures with Spanish ministry of Industry and Tourism. Besides, 3 short training sessions on geopark topics with strong connection with consortium issues (territory, heritage, development, population, etc.) will be organised as a preparatory phase on geopark didactical materials (modules) in order to implement the distance learning Master (II) degree, titled “Geopark: Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Management”. This Master (II) could be “exported” to other countries, like Latin America or Magreb, with specific modifications.

MNHN_logo_2014_NBWP4 : Dissemination and Management
Lead participant Prof Yves Girault (General coordinator WP4)


The main objective of this WP is focused on the management and the dissemination of the consortium results (tasks and deliverables) through innovative research tools (cartography), collaborative platform (website), multimedia tools (newsletters, videos, brochures) in order to diffuse technical documents (meetings, reports) and scientific results (inventory, publications, methodology, etc.) to consortium participants and external audience.

The dissemination of results produced during GEOPARK project will be mainly diffused within a website in order to communication on the GEOPARK activities developed by the consortium. This multimedia tool will be designed as an interactive and participative platform of collaboration between participants involved within the project, but also as a research platform based on an innovative technological and advanced tools (cartography, database), a media canal (videos, newsletters) and a dissemination support regarding the consortium activities (conferences, training sessions, workshops). Besides, all management materials produced during the 48 months of the project will be well-presented and well-organised on the website project in order to follow the action progress concerning the list of deliverables by month (M1 to M48). In addition two external and informal visits to MNHN/UCAM, in order to check the provisional project results. This visit will be carried out by two experts in Geoparks, for example from the European Network of Geoparks. This activity will be organized during months 24 and 42. The relevant comments of those external visitors will be taking in consideration by the consortium.

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