WP7. Training and Capacity Building
Effective environmental education and community engagement are among the most important features which identify a Geopark. Geotourism is most effective and sustainable when based on ATLANTIC GEOPARKS strong support and involvement from the local community. This basis should be developed though a bottom-up process and its management strategy must therefore primarily serve social and economic needs within the local area. Moreover, properly managed geotourism creates opportunities for rural development. It can effectively reduce the rate of unemployment and migration in rural areas by creating innovative strategies for local development, for instance; by creating new job opportunities in tourist enterprises, hotels and guest houses, restaurants and outdoor activities related with the increase of tourist flow and the economic activity in area.
In addition, Geoparks provide a device for effective scientific outreach in both geoscientific knowledge and environmental and cultural concepts to the public and foster scientific research and cooperation with academia.
In this framework, partnership has created this WP, led by P12.Copper Coast, with a double purpose: (i) to strengthen joint knowledge and educational activities related to Geotourism and Geosites; and (ii) to foster the involvement and commitment of the local communities and promote the business activity and entepreneurship to achieve sustainable development and minimization of negative sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism.
7.1 – Community Engagement and Business Interaction
This activity is aimed at involving local communities, sustainable business and both research and educational bodies in the design and running of the Geopark and its regional economic and cultural development plan.
Each partner will also establish relationships with public and civil authorities so as to make long term decisions and ensure sustainability beyond the lifetime of the project.
Deliverable: Open days and business sessions
Each partner will organise open days to introduce the project to the local community. Meetings with local business and entrepreneurs will also be organised in order to raise the standard of sustainable practices across all types of businesses
7.2 – Training Actions and Materials
Partners will organise workshops managed by fully trained local volunteers and authorities of geoparks for schoolchildren, students and local communities. Training actions will be completed with the preparation of training materials addressed to the environmental educators, managers and guides. The organisation of these workshops is not only a way to preserve the natural and cultural heritage in geoparks but also to promote the local economy through involving local communities in these activities.
Deliverable: Training Guide
The completed training materials will be compiled as training manuals addressed to the various relevant audiences. The methodologies and goals outlined within these guides will be internationally applicable while using local examples.
7.3 – Scientific and Technical Publications
The project will foster joint scientific research and knowledge, stimulating links between the geosciences and the local population. This will culminate in the production and public dissemination of a series of scientific publications.
Once again, partners will take advantage of the study visits to organise and discuss the elaboration of these publications, which will be available on the project website. The elaboration of these technical publications will be coordinated by P1. UTAD.
Deliverable: Scientific and Technical publications
Partners will jointly prepare the following technical and scientific articles: Ecohealth and tourism, Geotourism and climate change, Geotourism and natural hazards, Geotourism and territorial management, Geotourism and education.