The first workshop of The Delos Initiative, part of
the WCPA Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas,
was held from November 23-26 in the Monastery of Saint Mary of
Montserrat, nested in the Mountain of Montserrat Natural Park.
Montserrat is a holy mountain, located in the Barcelona Metropolitan
Area, Catalonia, Spain.
The workshop was attended by participants from
countries, as well as a group of observers from Catalonia, which
included representatives of the Catalan government, local governments,
academia, as well as some Catholic and Buddhist monks related to
Benedictine, Cistercian and Sakya monasteries, located within natural
protected areas around Barcelona.
Several case studies from Finland, Greece, Japan,
Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, and the USA which had been prepared
according to the pilot plan were presented and discussed, with the aim
of distilling the lessons learned, to identify ways to promote positive
synergies between the conservation of natural values and the
conservation of spiritual and intangible values at the same protected
In addition, the participants discussed the
UNESCO-IUCN Draft Guidelines on Natural Sacred Sites, as it is felt that
they should take in the points of view of mainstream religions, as well
as a short position paper about the inclusion of the concept of sacred
natural sites in all the IUCN categories for protected areas, to be
presented in the WCPA summit of Seville, Spain, in March 2007.
All the participants considered that the pilot plan
of The Delos Initiative and the workshop of Montserrat were a success
and agreed on the need to move forward the Initiative, preparing a
second workshop by the end of 2007 in order to be able to make a
significant contribution to the 2008 IUCN World Congress.
The workshop was sponsored by the Board of the
Mountain of Montserrat, the Ministry for the Environment and Housing of
Catalonia, the Fundació Territori i Paisatge of Caixa Catalunya Savings
Bank. Collaborators include the Monastery of Montserrat, Metsahällitus,
Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos, Fundación de Estudios
Tradicionales and Silene Association.