Integrating Cultural and Spiritual Values in Spain’s Protected Areas: 2003-2015
In Spain, similarly to other Western countries, the first national parks created at the beginning of the 20th century were based on cultural and spiritual values. Seventy years later however, the approach and rationale used to establish protected areas was very different. Only natural values were considered and the techno-scientific approach to understanding and valuing natural heritage had become prevalent. The following list summarizes the key steps of the process that developed from the start of the 21st century to recover the balance, integrating cultural and spiritual values into protected areas of Spain.
2003: Durban World Parks Congress – First WCPA recommendations to integrate cultural and spiritual values in protected areas.
2005: Silene Association was created. It aims at the study, dissemination and promotion of the spiritual and intangible cultural heritage values inherent in Nature, particularly in relation to the conservation of nature and natural protected areas.
2005-2006: Annual conferences of EUROPARC-Spain, first and second round table on cultural and spiritual values in protected areas of Spain.
2006: First workshop of the Delos Initiative “Protected Areas and Spirituality” held in the natural park and holy mountain of Montserrat, Catalonia.
2008: Agreement between EUROPARC-Spain and Silene Association to promote the integration of cultural and spiritual values in the protected areas of Spain.
2009: The Programme of Work for Protected Areas of Spain 2009-13 includes a Strategic Line and actions on cultural and spiritual values of protected areas.
2011-2012: Development and publication by EUROPARC-Spain of the training manual of intangible heritage, guidelines for including cultural and spiritual values into protected areas of Spain.
2013 onwards: Inclusion of lectures on cultural and spiritual values in the annual Masters Programme of Protected Areas in Madrid –the more prestigious of Spain.
2015: Testing and fine tuning of the recommendation of the training manual at the workshop of Europarc Spain & Silene in Reserve of Biosphere Sierra del Rincón, Madrid.
2016: A six month training course at the University of Girona on the Spiritual Values and Significance of Nature for protected area professionals.
More information: Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas