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Environmental education and awareness programmes

Effective implementation of coastal management and conservation programmes depends on the full support of local actors, which depends on a certain level of education, awareness raising and training in the relevant areas. Education and awareness raising have been identified in Agenda 21 as keay areas for working towards sustainable development. Once awareness is raised, the necessary values and attitudes, skills and behaviour can be developed.

Environmental education is a learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, fosters attitudes, motivations and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action (UNESCO, Tbilisi Declaration, 1978).

The components of environmental education are:

  1. Awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental challenges
  2. Knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges
  3. Attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality
  4. Skills to identify and help resolving environmental challenges


Educating for sustainability: Examples of initiatives

The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living

PERL is a partnership of educators and researchers from over 120 institutions in more than 50 countries–working to empower citizens to live responsible and sustainable lifestyles.
PERL aims to advance education for responsible living by focusing on consumer citizenship, education for sustainable consumption, social innovation and sustainable lifestyles.
PERL partners undertake research and debate, and develop teaching methods and materials.

The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), is a non-profit Federation of Mediterranean Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for Environment and Sustainable Development. MIO-ECSDE acts as a technical and political platform for the presentation of views and intervention of NGOs in the Mediterranean scene.

Education and awareness programmes need to be addressed to both the professional sector and the general public and should inform them about the direct and indirect impacts of tourism, the causes and effects, the global and local issues, the immediate and long-term issues and good practices in the area. The private sector and especially tour operators could provide information more widely to their clients - the tourists - about sustainable tourism issues, encourage them to conserve, avoid negative impacts on biodiversity and cultural heritage to respect national legislation of the visited area as well as traditions of local communities.

Education and awareness-raising also is required at all levels of government. This should include processes for increasing mutual understanding between relevant ministries, including joint and innovative approaches for dealing with tourism and environmental issues. It is quite important to raise awareness within the academic sector responsible for training and research on issues regarding sustainable tourism.

Example: The contribution of Information Centres to sustainable tourism in protected areas (the case of Strymonikos Gulf)

The main role of the Centre consists in contributing to information and public awareness in matters of coastal zone functions and values. Using as examples the Strymonikos Gulf and the Gulf of Ierissos, whose coastal zone diversity is typical for Greece. It is the first IC in Greece dealing exclusively with matters associated with the coastal zone.

Strymonikos Info centre

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Example: Public Awareness Strategy, Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR)

A variety of different groups of people have an interest in the Danube Delta or influence it in some way or other. The Public Awareness Strategy of the DDBR has been designed to support the conservation and sustainable management of the natural resources of the Danube Delta while improving socio-economic benefits for the local population. The financial sustainability of the DDBR, through the implementation of an integrated and clearly targeted plan for public awareness activities.

Information and visitors Centres in DDBR

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