Exploring the governance and social impact of the Evros Delta National Park

The Management Body of Evros Delta and Samothraki Protected Areas and the Green Tank, in collaboration with the International Institute for the Environment and Development (IIED) and the scientific oversight of the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge organized a workshop aimed at exploring issues of governance and social impacts of protected areas. The workshop was held outdoors and was hosted at the Evros Delta Visitor Center on Friday, July 30.

Through an interactive approach, which included structured questions, group discussion and presentations in plenary, participants examined the decision-making processes and the level of recognition and respect across stakeholders and rightsholders, as well as the mechanisms for sharing the benefits and mitigating the negative impacts that emerge as a result of the operation of the Evros Delta National Park. Specifically, during the workshop the innovative SAGE (Site-level Assessment of Governance and Equity) methodology was applied, which has been developed by a team of researchers and professionals specializing on nature conservation, under the lead of IIED, with the aim of assessing the quality of governance in protected areas.

The 24 participants, who took part in the workshop, include representatives of central, and regional authorities, representatives of the primary sector, such as agricultural, livestock and fishing associations, who are active within the National Park, other local users such as hunters and ecotourism business, as well members of the Management Body itself. Participants shared their views, heard different perspectives, and made suggestions on how governance of the protected area could be improved.

The coordination of the workshop was undertaken by Dr. Ioli Christopoulou from The Green Tank, and the conclusions that emerged will be analyzed in collaboration with Dr. Nikoleta Jones, who oversees the Fidelio research team at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge, as well as the IIED.

The SAGE methodology is in the final stage of elaboration before its official presentation. At an early stage, it was piloted at the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace in a similar workshop held in January 2020, with the results of that workshop having contributed to the development of the tool.

The workshop is part of the Fidelio research project of the University of Warwick, which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme (grant agreement no. 802605).