The Pan-Eastern-Med Conference on Land-Seascape, the first Mediterranean conference dedicated to landscape and cultural heritage in maritime spatial planning, ended the 21st of June at the Italian Archaeological School of Athens.

The event was promoted by Università Iuav di Venezia, CORILA (Consortium for coordination of research activities concerning the Venice lagoon system) and CNR-ISMAR (ISMAR – Institutes of Marine Research), in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Energy and Environment and the Ministry of Culture of Greece, the University of Thessaly (GR) with the support of the European Commission.

This conference is part of the MSPMED (Maritime Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean Sea) research project, coordinated by Iuav, CORILA, and CNRISMAR, which aims to promote consistent maritime spatial planning in the Mediterranean Sea. The new and different uses of marine spaces – unthinkable until a few years ago – call for an appropriate cultural reflection and perhaps a new definition of ‘seascape’.

A Mediterranean reflection

During the event – opened by the Italian Ambassador to Greece – Italian, Greek, Croatian and Cypriot know-how and experiences were exchanged along with those of non-EU countries on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Experts from ministries, institutions and coastal cities from Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel participated.

"Pan-Eastern-Med Conference on Land-Seascape

Ambassador Patrizia Falcinelli, opening the conference, said: ‘Looking at the concept of landscape ‘from the sea’ and through the lens of sustainable development, the project focuses on aspects that are common to all Mediterranean countries. I believe that, especially in the current uncertain global scenario, it is crucial to seize opportunities such as this to strengthen cooperation in every sector‘.

The Council of Europe was represented by the Executive Secretary of the European Landscape Convention, Maguelonne Dejeant-Pons, and representatives from UNESCO-IOC, UNEP, and the European Commission-DG MARE attended. For the Italian Ministry of Culture, Barbara Davidde, Superintendent of Underwater Cultura Heritage and Rocco Rosario Tramutola, Director for Landscape Protection also attended.

Supporting the common heritage

The meeting was also the opportunity for bilateral exchange between the Ministers of Culture to define programme points (Statement on the Future of Landscape, Seascape and Underwater Cultural Heritage in MSP) to support the integration of landscape and heritage within maritime spatial planning.

Among the first actions to be implemented: improving knowledge (data collection and management) to integrate landscape and cultural heritage through existing and innovative tools (guidelines, indicators, evaluations…); recognising tangible and intangible values, linked to the definition of identity, landscape and cultural heritage to protect and enhance them; strengthening communication at national, bilateral and Mediterranean level to raise awareness among local populations on the need to protect and enhance the marine and maritime landscape and cultural heritage.

The meeting confirmed that Iuav – with the Venetian research hub – is taking on a strategic role in the Mediterranean context,” commented Francesco Musco, Iuav Director of Research. “In fact, the topics and institutional actors of landscape, cultural heritage and archaeology are connected thanks to the new tools for spatial planning of the sea: themes on which our university can provide multidisciplinary scientific expertise“.