Transversal Projects
Integrated Nature CultuRE Approach (INCREAte)

Culture, as MedINA has long advocated, can provide the platform that allows for integrated management approaches. However, existing conservation policies, practices and planning tools are still dominated by a nature/culture duality. In addition, the aspirations of local communities are not adequately taken into consideration so as to provide solutions that successfully balance the need for local development while protecting heritage values.

The INCREAte project - Towards an Integrated Approach for the Sustainable Management of Mediterranean Natural and Cultural Heritage - is funded by the MAVA Foundation for Nature and draws on MedINA’s experiences and lessons learnt during its ten year experience of working on integrated approaches for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in the Mediterranean basin. It aims to improve the management of Mediterranean environmentally sensitive areas through the development of a new approach for integrating cultural aspects into nature conservation which synthesizes knowledge, advances understanding, enhances capacity and contributes to a better policy context. Simultaneously, applying the new approach at a pilot site aims at making a difference on the ground, allowing for a refinement of the approach. The overarching goal of MedINA's project is that -by 2025- Mediterranean countries have the tools, knowledge and experience to advance the integration of culture in environmental management for improved conservation outcomes.

The activities are structured under three main objectives, while there is also an organizational objective, dealing with MedINA’s restructuring and strategic planning for safeguarding the organisation’s sustainability. The main objectives correspond to different yet interrelated aspects of advancing integrated approaches: method, implementation and policy. More specifically:

  • the first objective relates to creating the approach, i.e. a methodology for integrating culture into environmental management. The main output is a management standard that is structured on an adaptive set of principles and criteria, including step-by-step guidance and a full toolkit. This objective also incorporates the pooling together of best practice examples from across the Mediterranean through a targeted survey. In addition, it focuses on innovatively disseminating results via a dedicated web platform.

  • the second objective concerns the implementation and evaluation of the methodology in a selected pilot site. This task emphasises participatory approaches that fully take into account the aspirations of local stakeholders. The selected pilot site is Kythera, a Greek island located opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. Limited scale activities will also be held in two additional Mediterranean locations.

  • the third objective is about improving the policy context. To this end, MedINA has organized the Piraeus Marinescape Forum which drew attention to Mediterranean marinescapes, islandscapes and coastal landscapes, advancing the creation of a a Mediterranean Marinescape Observatory. Parallel to this, MedINA has been collaborating with MedWet (the Ramsar Regional Initiative) for designing and launching the MedWet Culture Network, which aims at strengthening the incorporation of cultural values in the management of Mediterranean wetlands.