On Tuesday evening the meetings of sectorial roundtables organised by the Asociación para a Xestión do Xeoparque do Cabo Ortegal ended. Their purpose being to involve schools and different social, cultural and economic groups of the area. These sessions were set up as a meeting point for ideas, review of content, importance of the Project, resolving doubts and collect proposals. All this to give the final push forward to the Foro de Participación Local (Local Engagement Forum) as the liaison body between associations, Project and vice versa. The intention is to create a dynamic and coordinated working group that will become effective in the Forum through the “Entidade Amiga” (Friendly Organization); as is contemplated in the rules of the managing association. As a previous step to this, an online form was facilitated by the Association of Municipalities. Its role is to raise awareness of the function and interests of each group. The deadline to hand in the form is 25 April.
The Local Engagement Forum is one of the four pillars sustaining the candidacy to UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp). In the event that this international distinction is obtained, the Forum will no doubt have a lot to say about its future and development; which spans over 7 municipalities with around 28.000 inhabitants
To become a geopark and go through the revalidation process carried out every four years by UNESCO; maximum social awareness of the Project is necessary. With all this entails regarding knowledge and sustainable stimulation of its geological, scientific, educational, environmental, cultural, national heritage, touristic and economic values.
In this sense, the Association for the Management of the Cabo Ortegal Geopark (Asociación para a Xestión do Xeoparque do Cabo Ortegal) organised five sectorial roundtables to which all community, cultural, sport, economic groups were invited; as well as schools. The purpose of these meetings was to know how they work and how they can become a part of the Project.
85 people representing 54 groups participated in the meetings held in Cariño, Moeche, Valdoviño, Cedeira and Ortigueira. In each meeting the proposal to UNESCO was reviewed. The working sessions focussed on broadening the information, recording issues and raising awareness of participating groups. Lastly, they established the foundations for cooperation among them for the future geopark, as well as reaching a fluid public and private collaboration in its management.
The latter will be put into practice in the Foro de Participación Local (Local Engagement Forum) to which all groups can adhere as “Friendly Organization” as long as they have common interests to those of the Project, are legally established and apply through appropriate channels
Forming part of the Forum, once acceptance has been granted, does not imply payment of any fees; but a certain level of commitment is necessary. Such as visibility of the distinction of the Project of Cabo Ortegal Geopark on communications of activities, advise the managing association board in any areas of knowledge or expertise needed. Also important is the role of ambassador of the geopark in and outside of the area.
Apart from enhancing the social foundations of the Project- something which UNESCO looks at carefully when considering awarding the status of UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp)- to be a “Friendly Organization” also has its benefits. Among them to create synergies to carry out joint ventures of all kinds; such as cultural, environmental, tangible and intangible heritage, etc. As well as contributing to the implementation in the area of a sustainable social, economic and environmental model.
During the roundtable sessions which ended yesterday in Ortigueira, the Association for the management of the project launched an online form for groups and schools. The purpose being to obtain information on how they work and gather a vast submittal of proposals on how to articulate a strategy of participation. The deadline to submit the form finishes on 25 April. For schools, it will be open longer
The proposal for the protocol of accession as “friendly organization” has also been published, it includes all the steps that need to be taken and the documents that need to be submitted to endorse the collaboration agreement between the applying group and the Association for the Management of the Cabo Ortegal Geopark.