The second workshop of the Delos Initiative

The second workshop of the Delos Initiative

The second workshop of the Delos Initiative was held on 24-28 October, in Ouranoupolis, a town next to the Holy Mountain of Athos, in Halkidiki, Greece. Thus the Delos Initiative, in the framework of the Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas of IUCN/WCPA, continued its activities after the first successful workshop that was held in November 2006, in the Monastery of Montserrat, Spain.

The Ouranoupolis meeting was hosted by Med-INA and was attended by 22 participants from 11 countries. Among them there were representatives of the Holy Community of Mount Athos, the Halkidiki Prefecture, the Greek Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, as well as members of the conservation and religious communities. The meeting was honoured by a message of blessings and guidance of HAH The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome (click hereto read text).

During the workshop, experiences from Mount Athos in Greece, Jabal Lâ’lam in Morocco, the San Francisco Peaks of California, Mani San Mount in South Korea, Solovetsky Islands of Russia, Buila Vinturarita in Romania, Foreste Casentinesi of Italy, Dhimurru in northern Australia, Poblet Monastery and Sakya Tashi Ling in Catalonia, Spain, Rila Monastery in Bulgaria and the Chryssopigi Monastery in Crete, Greece, were presented and discussed.

The participants explored ways of strengthening the conservation of the natural and spiritual heritage in these areas and in other similar sites, as well as the role IUCN and the conservation community could play. The conclusions of the workshop were incorporated in the Ouranoupolis Statement, a document that includes the lessons drawn from the case-studies presented, guidelines that concern the management of monastic lands, guidance for sacred natural sites in developed countries and the necessary actions that must be taken towards the IUCN World Conservation Congress that will be held in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain) in October 2008. The text is currently in draft form, but will be finalised and circulated broadly soon.

The organisers of the Workshop would like to express their gratitude to HAH The Ecumenical Patriarch for his message, the Holy Community of Mt. Athos, the Monasteries of Cryssopighi in Crete, Ormylia in Halkidiki and Varlaam in Meteora for their contribution, the Prefecture of Halkidiki and the Board of Med-INA (the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos) that covered the Workshop costs, with the support of the A.G. Leventis Foundation