Chief of Section for Earth Sciences and Geohazard Risk Reduction, UNESCO
Professor Patrick James Mc Keever graduated in 1990 with a Ph.D. in Geology from the Queen’s University of Belfast in Ireland. From 1990 to 1995 he was employed by the Department of Geology, University of Manchester, United Kingdom as Post-Doctoral Research Associate and from 1995 to 2012 he worked in the Geological Survey of N. Ireland (GSNI) as Principal Geologist to encourage the wider understanding of geology and geological heritage; to assist communities and organisations in promoting sustainable economic development by use of their geological heritage.
He was instrumental in establishing the first Geoparks in 2000 and from 2004 had been an advisor to the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences at UNESCO for the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and has undertaken many expert missions on their behalf. He has been instrumental in helping to draft the application guidelines and statutes for the GGN and was a member of the Global Geoparks Bureau.
Prof McKeever has been a scientific evaluator for IUCN on behalf of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. In 2006 he was invited to join the UK’s Geoconservation Committee of the Geological Society and in 2007 he was invited to become a member of the WCPA (World Convention on Protected Areas). He was a member of the scientific board of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) on behalf of Ireland (2007-2012) and in October 2009 and October 2011 he was the official representative for the Republic of Ireland to the Science Commission of the biannual UNESCO General Conference. In 2008 he was invited as a visiting professor to the Institute of Environment Research (Lestari) at the National University of Malaysia.
In 2012, Prof McKeever joined UNESCO as the new Chief of Section for Earth Sciences and Geohazard Risk Reduction and as Secretary of the IGCP. Among his jobs since joining UNESCO, Prof McKeever has assisted Member States in formalising the relationship between the Global Geoparks Network and UNESCO through the creation of the new International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme and the creation of the new designation of UNESCO Global Geopark which happened in November 2015.