A dialogue that needs to start: Citizens’ participation in the planning of policy for the landscape
Public concern for landscapes that are rapidly changing around us due to developments in crucial sectors such as agriculture and energy has been answered by the Council of Europe through the European Landscape Convention. In our country, however, who is engaged in the discussion for landscape management and in which way? What are the policies that affect the landscape? How do we conceive the landscape that we experience on a daily basis and how do we talk about it?
The project “Landscape Public Participation Tools”, implemented by the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA), aims to open a public dialogue for the management of the landscape and give some answers to these questions. With national-level actions and the pilot implementation of participatory processes in Prespa and Pylos, the project is being carried out in collaboration with the Society for the Protection of Prespa and supported by the Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation as part of the Active citizens fund programme.
Two participatory workshops have already been organized in Prespa, with the following questions at their heart: “How is our place changing? How are we connected with landscapes? What are their strengths and weak points and how do we want landscapes to be in the future?” Personal experiences and testimonies were recorded by inhabitants and stakeholders of the area, as well as their proposals for the management of the landscape in the future.
The participants highlighted the element of water, nature, the transboundary dimension and agricultural production as the main advantages of the Prespa landscape, while the abandonment of traditional buildings and the reduction of stockbreeding were the main weaknesses noted. Concern was expressed regarding the changes brought about in the landscape by, on one hand, population decline, and on the other, by the impacts of climate change and the decrease in primary sector activity. Highlighted opportunities for the future included the recognition of the Prespa landscape as of International Significance, as well as further increases in organic agriculture.
The conclusions of the participatory activities will be combined with scientific research data to put together policy directions, and will also form part of proposals that will be submitted to competent bodies and services. Moreover, the tools used in the participatory processes in Prespa, as well as those that will be used this autumn in Pylos, will be uploaded in a special website accessible to the general public, as well as researchers and students involved with the landscape or spatial planning.
The project is complemented by a Instagram photo competition, Lifescapes, aiming to promote the unique landscapes of Prespa and Pylos and raise public awareness about landscape issues in general. The competition is open for submissions until 20/7.
The project, “Landscape Public Participation Tools – LPPT”, is being implemented under the Active citizens fund in Greece by MedINA and its partner the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), in collaboration with the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation.
The Active citizens fund in Greece is supported through a €13.5 m grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as part of the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The programme aims to develop the sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector in Greece, and to strengthen its role in promoting and safeguarding democratic procedures, active citizenship and human rights. The Fund Operator for the Active citizens fund programme for Greece is the Bodossaki Foundation in consortium with SolidarityNow.
Further information: activecitizensfund.gr
USEFUL INFORMATION AND LINKS:
Project Landscape Public Participation Tools – LPPT
Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation
Active Citizens Fund