Conservation of priority forests and forest openings in "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis" and "Oros Kallidromo" of Sterea Ellada, LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014
Action A.11: Stakeholder consultation and development of a communication and participation strategy
The purpose of this action is to:
- Determine the level of awareness, perceived values, recommendations, and expectations of the stakeholders, regarding the conservation of the natural environment of the Natura 2000 sites of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo in general, and of the target habitats and species in particular.
- Develop an effective communication and participation strategy.
The action will start on the first year of the project and will include a series of interviews and surveys in the regions of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo, designed to provide an integrated approach to the stakeholder opinion. The lessons learned by the project JUNICOAST (LIFE07NAT/ GR/000296), which implemented similar actions, will be taken into account.
A series of semi-structured interviews with decision makers (e.g., Local Authorities, Regional Authorities, local community representatives, local agricultural or other cooperatives, representatives of the local commercial or industrial enterprises) will be carried out at the onset of the project. The interviews will be designed to determine the socio-economic issues relating the stakeholders to biodiversity conservation in the Natura 2000 sites, their opinion and perceived values regarding these issues, and their level of awareness. This will be followed up by the active involvement of the stakeholders in the project management through the Stakeholder Committee (action F.2).
At the same time, two surveys will be carried out, based on semi-structured questionnaires designed to ascertain the public opinion regarding the conservation and use of the Natura 2000 sites and of the target habitats. The questionnaires will specifically address threats related to site users, such as illegal waste deposal and trampling. The first survey will involve a random sample of the local communities in the regions of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. The second survey will involve visitors and any other users of the areas where the habitats occurr, and will be mostly carried out on site. In addition, huntering, mountaineering, cycling, and four-wheel-drive clubs will be approached, in order to distribute questionnaires to their members.
The analysis of all the above data will be used in order to develop a communication strategy, and will provide guidelines for the environmental awareness and education campaign (action E.1), including the visitor information centres (action E.2) and material for the project website (action E.3). Also, this action will aim to develop a participation strategy to be implemented by actions E.1, E.4, and F.2, and will be a useful tool for the after-LIFE habitat and species conservation (action F.4). Finally, the results of this action will provide input for action D.6.
The assent, consent, and active engagement of the stakeholders in management are pre-requisites for the success of all conservation efforts. Although the proposed project has, in a way, ensured the goodwill of the local authorities by their involvement as beneficiaries or co-financiers, this action will allow consultation with the maximum range of stakeholders and site users.
Moreover, public acceptance and participatory activities are of the utmost importance for the success of the project actions, since certain of the most serious threats for the target habitats and species (e.g., trampling, waste deposit) are related to the conduct of the site users. This action will help to design an effective communication and participation strategy to be implemented by actions E.1, E.2, E.3, E.4 and F.2., and thus to achieve a wide range of acceptance and cooperation for the project actions which will facilitate action F.4.
- A report including the results, analysis, and evaluation of the stakeholder consultation.
- A text describing the communication and participation strategy to be implemented by the dissemination and project management actions.