[posted on 29 September 2008]
Including the intangible cultural heritage in the First Conference of
Carpathian Network of Protected Areas
Following our colleague Sebastian Catanoiu’s suggestion, the
organisation of the First Conference of Carpathian Network of Protected
Areas, held in Poiana Brasov, Transylvania,
Romania, 23-24 October, invited the co-ordinators of the Delos
Initiative to lead a workshop on cultural heritage. The Carpathian
Framework Convention was ratified by seven parties: Check Republic,
Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine (
Two workshops devoted to cultural heritage and local communities of
protected areas were led by Josep-Maria Mallarach, assisted by Sebastian
Catanoiu (Romania), and Martin Pavlik (Check Republic), member of Alpark,
who acted as a rapporteur. During the first workshop, the Delos
Initiative was presented as a framework for discussion. The conclusions
of both workshops included a synthetic diagnose and a number of
proposals to be included in the Draft Work Programme of
the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas that was discussed by the
90 participants during the Conference.
The participants concluded that the
Carpathian Mountains represent not only the last large biodiversity
reservoir of Europe, but also one of the major depositories of tangible
and intangible cultural heritage, where religion, faith, legends, myths,
traditional governance systems etc are still present and alive.
The landscape inherited in the Carpathian region is the result of long
term interaction with local communities. Their worldview has -or has had
until very recently- a strong spiritual component, which gives intrinsic
values to nature and a respectful attitude towards natural resources.
Loss of traditional culture and penetration of the materialistic outlook
consist some of the main threats for nature, culture and landscape
conservation of the Carpathians.
In order to promote the inclusion of tangible and intangible cultural
heritage in protected areas planning, management and evaluation of the
Carpathians, a new strategic action was suggested by the participants of
those workshops. It includes the identification and characterisation of
the Carpathian cultural identity, the identification of protected areas
including significant spiritual, cultural and natural values, the
organisation of a specific workshop for the Carpathian region and the
establishment of a working group for tangible and intangible cultural
heritage of protected areas.
A holistic approach of nature conservation can effectively demonstrate
to local communities that the institution of protected areas can assist
them conserve and evaluate their identity and traditions, prevailing
over the feeling that they only impose restrictions. These
recommendations, presented in the plenary session of the Conference,
will allow during the coming years the development of the article 11 of
the Carpathian Convention, which deals with cultural heritage and
traditional knowledge, taking into consideration the UNESCO Convention
for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.