25 Apr Communicating the spiritual values of European protected areas, International Academy for Nature Conservation, Island of Vilm, Germany
From 14 to 18 April 2009, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the Europarc Federation and organised a workshop on ‘Communicating values and benefits of protected areas in Europe’ at the International Academy for Nature Conservation at the Island of Vilm, Baltic Sea. The workshop was attended by some twenty participants from ten European countries. A wide range of values were discussed, among them the cultural and spiritual values.
The organisation invited the WCPA Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas and the Delos Initiative to discuss the spiritual values. Josep-Maria Mallarach made two presentations based on the experience gained by the Delos Initiative during these last few years: one about the spiritual values of protected areas in Europe, and another about the experience of communicating spiritual values in a subset of protected areas, which include Christian monastic communities, focusing on the case of Montserrat, Spain.
The last session of the workshop was devoted to the preparation of the conclusions, which include a set of recommendations to Europarc, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, WCPA, and the participants. Several recommendations focused on the need to take into consideration the full range of values and benefits, overcoming the trend to focus on natural heritage or economic values. Two recommendations dealt directly with spiritual values:
- To Europarc: Develop and disseminate guidance to protected area managers, of issues relating to management and visitor interpretation and communication of spiritual values of protected areas, working with the Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values to relate globally developed guidance to the European context.
- To the participants of the workshop: Work with the Delos Initiative so as to find representative case studies on outstanding areas where natural, cultural and spiritual values are effectively linked with the management of protected areas.