The Med-INA team, with the support of the Centre of Environmental Education in Konitsa, organised a participatory meeting on Thursday 22nd October 2015, in the framework of the Medscapes project.
The meeting had multiple purposes; on a general level, to discuss the potential of landscape characterization as a management tool to support local territorial planning in relation to the protection and promotion of the area’s natural and cultural heritage; and more specifically, to discuss the problems and challenges the area is facing today, seeking to develop a common strategy for the sustainable management of the local natural and cultural resources in the future.
The Med-INA team presented the results of the landscape mapping exercise of the area to the local stakeholders, which was conducted using the Landscape Character Assessment method. The open discussion that followed focused in the changing character of the area’s landscapes –from agropastoral to natural– due to the abandonment of traditional productive activities, giving insights to the reasons behind this shift and discussing the actions that need to be taken in order to actively manage this changing landscape at the local level.
In the framework of promoting the Medscapes project and its methodology at the national level, Med-INA and the University of the Aegean (UoA), also a Greek partner to the project, organised a presentation and discussion on Monday 7th December 2015, in the premises of the Ministry of Environment in Athens. Participants included public officials working in various Ministry Departments, as well as private practitioners with experience in landscape management issues. The Med-INA and UoA teams presented in detail the methodological aspects of the mapping exercise, along with the outcomes of local participatory activities held in Epirus (Konitsa) and Sigri (Lesvos), followed by an interesting and in-depth debate. The main points discussed were the opportunities and obstacles for incorporating landscape characterization methods in the decision-making process of territorial planning; the challenges for improving the process of public participation; and the technical issues involved in the mapping and characterization process.