Transversal Projects
INCREAte pilot site - Kythera Project
The INCREAte Approach aims to guide users in designing more effective conservation programs by incorporating culture-related issues into their work, including stakeholder participation and human well being parameters.  To test the INCREAte approach, MedINA is currently working in Kythera as its pilot site.

The Greek island of Kythera is located right across the southeast edge of Peloponnese, and is part of the seven Ionian Islands complex.  Historically, it has been a crossroads of civilizations and peoples due to its strategic location as well as an important stepping stone for migratory birds with over 3,000 raptors regularly passing through every autumn.

Following the steps of the approach, the MedINA team first made a rapid assessment of the island's natural and cultural environment – the two reports can be found on the right hand side of this page. Additionally, a stakeholder participatory workshop was held, with the aim to engage the local community from the early stages of the project and record its perception and aspirations on heritage management and local sustainable development.

Based on the findings of these activities, a vision and a series of proposed strategies were formulated by the project team. The one selected for implementation is about "strengthening the tourist potential of the island, through showcasing the interconnections of nature and culture".

The bulk of the strategy’s activities unfold around strengthening the network of hiking trails that exist on the island. Up to early 2017, a number of local pioneers, volunteers and supporting donors and organisations, led by the Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development and in collaboration with the local authorities, have fully revived eight old hiking trails that span over 32,6 km and comply with international hiking standards.

MedINA, in collaboration with these actors, will contribute to expanding and upgrading the infrastructure and services of the trails network. A set of activities is currently being undertaken that will:
  • Extend the network of trails to a total of 21 trails that will cover a route of around 118 km.
  • Enrich the thematic character of the trails by revealing each trail’s history via interviews with elders and local resource people as well as by recording the natural and cultural points of interest. 
  • Implement demonstrative, small scale interventions using Traditional Ecological Knowledge for managing water resources. These interventions aim to contribute to the good environmental status of the island as well as to stimulate an interest to locals and tourists on the ways in which traditional practices can solidly contribute to environmental conservation. 
  • Use digital media to make all collected information on the trails available to the hikers of the Kythera trails in a user friendly manner. 
  • Initiate a programme of citizen science to support the collection of data for monitoring selected heritage elements along the trails and the water management demonstrative actions. 
  • Develop an environmental education programme for local schools.
  • Develop a marketing strategy to promote the enhanced hiking network to supra-local tourism networks. 
  • Promote collaboration among local tourism professionals so that the hiking network is well integrated with the island’s tourism services.
Enhancing the trails network and its services contribute to tourism diversification and produces local income. At the same time, trails are a perfect means for highlighting the natural and cultural elements that link this place’s past with its future at a symbolic and value level. In turn, these economic and social outcomes demonstrate the need for more effective protection and management of the environment.

This chain outcome is at the core of MedINA’s line of work: a demonstration that the protection of nature and culture is to be achieved not only for their inherent values but also because heritage can be central in both social identity and modern economy. Having made these steps, a partnership of actors and the local community at large are better equipped to design complementary activities in the medium run and –thus– further enhance the long-term endeavour of integrated, participatory and sustainable heritage management.
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