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The Project!


Objectives and relevance of the joint exchange programme

When a natural or monumental site is declared as a protected area such as World Cultural Site (WCS), National Historic Monument (NHM), Biosphere Reserve (BR), Natural Space (NS) etc, a very strong impact undergoes in the region. In general, this declaration involves a large public and private investment which often affects only the site itself or immediate surroundings. Often the direct impact is reduced by marginalization of more distant areas, which in many cases, present unquestionable heritage values, susceptible of being valorised and recovered in order to further generate financial resources to promote economic, social and regional development. The site protected by law acts as a powerful magnet that may favour those more remote places in terms of promoting economic and social bookmarking, if that marginal area is valorised properly. There are many examples of the consequences of valorisation works in monuments and/or natural areas in Europe. One of the most significant cases in Spain is the recognition of the Romanesque art churches located in Boi Valley (Catalonia) as World Heritage UNESCO 30/11/2000. These sites must comply with the requirement of acting as powerful magnets for tourist attraction, and geographically affect a wider circle which must be studied to enhance and create new local development opportunities. Three potential sites suffering from marginalization and a reduced impact as a consequence of their declaration or protection have been identified in regions of Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

In order to overcome the reduced impact and promote future economic and social progress derived from such declarations, the STRAVAL main purpose is to make non-interventional studies on the conservation of these sites in LA in order to valorise the selected sites. Such studies will be performed from an architecture, environment, geo&bio-diversity, history and conservation/alteration of building materials point of view. In addition, it will be a need to complement them by the identification of existing economic potentials around these sites and a social study of the neighbouring populations. As a result of the performed studies, education and training programs aimed at college students in Higher Education Institutions will be one of the outputs of the project. These training programs will be based on thematic modules, which will be used in the training through college courses and specialized on-line including some EU/LA experiences based in good practices. After necessary adjustments, shorter training courses together with open day sessions will be offered to the civilian population at large and to professionals in the tourism sector (ecological, cultural and / or adventure) from the surrounding areas of sites listed and protected by law. The derived Valorisation, Business and Action Plans will become the other important output of STRAVAL. Such plans will be useful for the National/Regional Administration to decide on the most appropriate use of the target sites, to determine compensation for damage done to the environment and, finally, to advocacy organizations of nature which can also find this information useful to indicate the monetary value of defending the natural heritage. These scientific studies and the corresponding valorisation will be carried out by an international and multidisciplinary team [EU (Spain, Croatia, Estonia) & LA (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico)] which is characterized by their experience and complementarities (see WPs and CVs). STRAVAL will require from different actions to be performed along 48 months through specific mobility of early stage, experienced and senior researchers between groups of EU and LA, including training, seminars, open-days and scientific studies in the sites chosen by the consortium. These actions involve:

  • Scientific historical, cultural and socio-economic studies of target sites in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
  • Appreciation of the existing potentials at these locations, and their environments, generating new opportunities to raise the living standards of local populations
  • Introduction of management and comprehensive recovery of sites and their environments in university programs
  • Transfer of the best practices among all the sites chosen for the project on the basis of concrete examples of good practices identified in the EU or associated states. For example the city of Tarragona (Roman period) or the Valle de Boi (Pyrenees) both in Spain or the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
  • Local/regional authorities and private actors associated with tourism awareness of the existing potential, based on educational actions to be implemented, dissemination of results and awareness among local stakeholders about the importance of conservation, enhancement and promotion of natural or monumental heritage, as an engine of economic momentum on track to sustainable growth
  • Strengthen the ERA (EU27) with Latin American through the participation of research groups from Estonia (UT) and Croatia (RBI) with little scientific relations with Latin-America for being far removed geographically as well by cultural and economic reasons. Estonia could also incorporate, during the project execution, the other two Baltic countries (Lithuania and Latvia) and Croatia the WBC region e.g. Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, for instance inviting researches for those countries to local events
  • Future creation of one (or more) networks between higher education institutions (EU / LA) around the identified sites and including new sites. For example in France with the collaboration of the University of Versailles, in Portugal with the Universidad Nova de Lisboa and from Estonia, the cooperation of Lithuania and Latvia (Baltic countries). Also with the UK (University of Surrey) and/or several Universities of Argentina (Province of Buenos Aires and Jujuy), Brazil (South States: Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina, etc.), Ecuador (Guayaquil), Venezuela etc.

In order to complete these actions a series of activities will be undertaken such as

1. Mobilities: A total of 173 exchanges (224 p/m) between EU and LA are planned (44 exchanges/year). 28% (1st year), 26% (2nd year), 30 % (3rd year), 16 %( 4th year). 6% of the exchanges will be of more than 3 months, 14 % of the exchanges of 2 months and 80% of the exchanges 1 month. The greatest part of the exchanged researchers is senior scientists

2. Education and Training: through the creation of educational modules on topics related to those selected places as well as their geographical environment, highlighting their intrinsic values capable to generate economic activities with attendant socio-economic impacts on local populations. After completing the modules a platform for on-line courses at the involved universities will be created.

3. Study of all existing potentials, impacts and socio economic capabilities in the settings of the selected sites. Scientific, socio-economic, cultural and historical studies in order to analyse the physical environment of each site, including potential impacts and corrective measures to recover and valorise the target sites.

4. Valorisation and Management: Establish a project development and management of the studied areas, compatible with the environment and sustainable development with the support of local authorities and populations. For example the Municipality of Lujan, INAH-Morelia in Michoacán or the Secretary of Environment of the State of Santa Catarina, Regional Brazilian Development Agency (ADRAM) and the Chambers of Commerce of Santa Catarina (Tubarao and Florianopolis) 5. Dissemination of results through the specifically designed tools: Web, open days, posters/banners, thematic videos (ES/PT/EN) leaflets/brochures, seminars, short courses in schools or social centres, short conferences addressed to the public in general (30-45 min).