Later that year an application was sent to UNESCO to recognize it as a global geopark, and it passed the preliminary round. A final vote was planned at the annual conference of the UNESCO General Assembly in late 2020 in South Korea, but the event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The efforts began in 2015 when it was called the Binh Chau-Ly Son Global Geopark. Quang Ngai had just salvaged many ancient ships from around Ly Son Island, which is famous for its volcanic heritage and a long history of protecting the country's sovereignty.
Quang Ngai leaders in 2017 established the Ly Son - Sa Huynh Geopark management board under the oversight of the culture department, with an aim to seek UNESCO global geopark status to promote Quang Ngai's socio-economic development, especially tourism.
The board worked with the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources and international experts to conduct dozens of surveys and research into geomorphology, landscapes and geography to determine the value of the heritage. It held international conferences and seminars attended by hundreds of scientists.
In 2019 the board concluded that Ly Son Island and its neighboring areas on the mainland were too small for the park and urged the province to expand the area to 4,600 square kilometers.
According to UNESCO, global geoparks are areas with geology and geomorphology of international significance.
In 2004, representatives of 17 global geoparks met in Paris and established the Global Geopark Network for countries to exchange, cooperate and share their experiences in geological heritage conservation.
Vietnam has the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang Province, Non Nuoc Cao Bang Global Geopark in Cao Bang Province, both in the north, and Dak Nong Global Geopark in Dak Nong Province in the Central Highlands.