The Delos Initiative Fourth Workshop: Sacred Natural Sites with a primary focus on Islam

The Delos Initiative Fourth Workshop: Sacred Natural Sites with a primary focus on Islam

The Delos Initiative on sacred natural sites in technologically developed countries was launched in 2004, in the context of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of IUCN and its Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, currently a Specialist Group (SG/CSVPA). The Initiative is co-ordinated jointly by Thymio Papayannis, director of MedINA and Josep-Maria Mallarach of the Silene Association.

The fourth workshop of the Delos Initiative will take place in Malta, 24th to 26th April 2017 in the Franciscan Retreat House of Porziuncola, in cooperation with the University of Malta – Institute of Earth Systems. The Delos4 workshop will focus on the presentation and critical analysis of case studies with a primary emphasis on Islam as well as some relevant to more than one living religions. Its aim is to draw lessons learnt concerning the integration of spiritual concerns in the management of natural sites.

During the three day workshop, an interesting array of presentations will be held with examples from protected sites, customary and legally protected areas, conserved natural areas and protected ecosystems and landscapes with a primarily focus on Islam. The case studies that will be presented by the speakers have a wide geographical spread from South Africa and Indonesia to Kyrgyzstan and Morocco. On the second day, during the field trip, the participants will have the opportunity to visit ancient and modern sacred sites in Malta. For more information on the programme of the workshop, the agenda can be downloaded here.

The Delos4 case studies and lessons learnt will be reviewed for inclusion in the updated and more encompassing IUCN Guidelines on Sacred Natural Sites to be published in the future. In addition, as with the previous three Delos workshops, the case studies presented in Delos4 will be published in the workshop proceedings.

View from the Franciscan Retreat Porziuncola

Regarding the previous three workshops organised under the framework of the Delos Initiative, Delos1 took place in in Montserrat (Catalonia), Spain in 2006 and focused on protected areas and spirituality, Delos2 took place in Ouranoupolis, a town next to the Holy Mountain of Athos, in Halkidiki, in 2007 and focused on providing guidance for sacred natural sites in developed countries and Delos3 took place in Inari, Finland in 2010 with a focus on the diversity of sacred lands in Europe. The case studies that were presented in the three workshops were published in the respective proceedings and are available in print and electronically at on the Delos Initiative website.