...... The Importance of Cultural and Natural Heritage for by olliegoblue31

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									     The Importance of Cultural and Natural Heritage for Sustainable Regional Development

                Katerini Declaration of the European People's Party (EPP) Group
                             in the Committee of the Regions (CoR)
              EPP/CoR Extraordinary Group meeting – Katerini – 27 October 2008


The EPP Group in the CoR

On a European Identity

1.       draws attention to the fact that cultural and natural heritage is a key element of a
         region or a city's identity, providing a foundation for dynamic knowledge-based
         societies and contributing to social and economic cohesion. When combined with
         other natural and local landmarks and cultural traditions – with a special regard for
         agropastoralism - the capacity to increase the attractiveness of these areas and to
         generate sustainable local economic development is substantially improved;

2.       believes that cultural tourism can raise awareness and understanding of the different
         cultures of Europe, thus contributing to European integration, while the European
         integration is based on the diversity of cultures and so the European Union has to
         invest in it;

3.       reiterates its support for the Conventions and Agreements initiated by international
         organisations throughout the years on the protection and preservation of cultural
         and natural heritage;

4.       supports the European cultural heritage outside EU borders, which will ensure the
         preservation and benchmarking of EU values at global level;

On subsidiarity and democracy

5.       recalls that by taking into account the principle of subsidiarity, local and regional
         authorities are best placed to preserve heritage and calls for a strengthening of
         available support, notably through the EU Structural Funds;

6.       underlines the importance that education plays at all levels with regards to nature
         and the significance of cultural heritage in order to improve awareness from one


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       generation to the next because a better knowledge of our history helps to better
       understand the society and its roots, in particular via teaching ancient languages;

7.     underlines the importance for local and regional authorities to invest in the education
       and training of heritage experts, managers of heritage sites, professionals in nature
       conservation and tourism professionals;

8.     calls on national governments and the EU to support the implementation of initiatives
       from local and regional authorities to develop partnerships and twinning
       arrangements, in order to exchange knowledge and experiences in the field of
       heritage management and preservation;

9.     stresses the importance of networking, and bringing together the tourism and
       cultural industry professionals working in different regions of Europe to exchange
       experience and information on best practice;

On Sustainable Development

10.    believes that sustainable tourism plays a major role in the preservation and
       enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage in many fields, including arts and
       crafts, local gastronomy, and the preservation of biodiversity, and therefore must be
       further developed and encouraged;

11.    supports the efficient planning of a sustainable cultural tourism whilst taking into
       account the economic, social and environmental effects;

12.    calls for a responsible use of transport to sites of cultural importance, bearing in
       mind that carbon emissions contribute to pollution and climate change, thus creating
       a negative impact on the historic environment;

On growth and jobs

13.    cultural tourism represents a catalyst for encouraging entrepreneurship in a variety
       of business sectors, which can generate employment opportunities and contribute to
       the economic development of a region, ensuring long term competitiveness, in line
       with the goals of the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs and the Gothenburg goals
       of developing competitiveness, employment and sustainable development;

14.    welcomes the Communication by the European Commission on the agenda for a
       sustainable and competitive European tourism and announces its intention to further
       contribute to this initiative by adding a local and regional dimension in order to
       increase the positive contribution of tourism business and consumption activity to
       local sustainable development.
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