First international workshop of the Delos Initiative
Between 2005 and 2006, the Silene Association carried out the preparations for the first international workshop of the Delos Initiative, linked to the IUCN Working Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas. Together with the Greek organization Mediterranean Institute of Nature and Anthropos (Med-INA), based in Athens, Silene organized the workshop in Montserrat, from November 23 to 26, 2006.
The workshop was attended by about twenty experts from 10 countries, as well as a group of observers from Catalonia, including a Cistercian monk in the monastery of Poblet and a Buddhist monk sakya from the Garraf monastery . Several study cases from eight countries (Spain, the United States of America, Finland, Greece, Japan, Romania, the United Kingdom and Russia) that had been prepared in the framework of the Pilot Plan of the Delos Initiative, Presented and debated, in order to develop guidelines for sacred natural sites located in technologically developed countries, who seek positive synergies between the conservation of spiritual, cultural and natural values.
The Silene Association prepared the case study of the holy mountain of Santa Montserrat, which was presented by Josep Maria Mallarach, and the pilgrimage of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of el Rocío, which was presented by Jordi Falgarona.
Three documents were debated and agreed: the draft guidelines for UNESCO-UICN on sacred natural sites; a contribution on the consideration of the sacred dimension of nature for the next IUCN congress on categories of protected natural areas; and a statement that synthesized the most important conclusions.
The workshop was sponsored by the Mountain Board of Montserrat, the Department of Environment and Housing of the Generalitat of Catalonia, and the Foundation territori i Paisatge of Caixa Catalunya. In addition, the Monastery of Montserrat, Metsahällitus, Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos, the Foundation for Traditional Studies and the Silene Association collaborated.
The proceedings of the workshop were published in 2007, in the volume Protected Areas and Spirituality co-edited by the IUCN and Publications of the Abbey of Montserrat. It has two prefaces, one by the abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler, and the other by the president of the World Commission for Protected Areas, Nick Lopoukine. It can be downloaded for free from several websites: Silene, Delos Initiative, IUCN Publications Service, etc.