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The Delos Initiative fourth workshop in Malta: 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 (MedINA) and Josep-Maria Mallarach (Silene).


Three workshops have been organised up to now. Delos1 in Montserrat (Catalonia), Spain in 2006, Delos2 in Ouranoupolis (Mt Athos), Greece in 2007 and Delos3 Workshop in Inari, Finland in 2010.
The Delos Initiative is now organising its fourth workshop in Malta, in cooperation with the University of Malta and it will focus on case studies with a primary emphasis on Islam and on those relevant to more than one living religions.


Objectives of Delos4 are:

Presentation and critical analysis of case studies with a primary focus on Islam and on those relevant to more than one living religion (including conserved areas, like the himas, which are not equivalent to other ‘holy sites’, but are based on Islamic principles).

Extraction of lessons to be drawn concerning the integration of spiritual concerns in the management of natural sites.
Identification of case studies and lessons that could be included in the future updated and more encompassing IUCN Guidelines on Sacred Natural Sites.
Bassam Alkanar, SPNL Media Campaigner, will present a case study titled “Selected Hima with spiritual values: Anjar – Bekaa Valley” during Delos4 held from 24-26 April 2017, Franciscan Retreat House of Porziuncola, Malta.
One of the most striking features of Lebanon is its tradition of religious pluralism, making the country unique, in particular in the Middle East, but also beyond.
To date, 18 confessions have been officially recognized by the State. Religious diversity is compounded by ethnic diversity,
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) is currently leading the revival of the Hima approach
Since 2004, the SPNL has helped to establish 18 Himas in six Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBBAs) , many of these Himas convey a spiritual and religious significance.

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