Cultural Heritage sites located in both rural and urban areas are often facing the dilemma between loss of cultural values and hence loss of identity, due to non-sustainable growth, and economic decline and emigration, due to inappropriate infrastructure and high cost of living (especially, buildings maintenance). CHERPLAN aims to provide a strong basis for ensuring compatibility and synergy between cultural heritage conservation and socio-economic growth by fostering the adoption of a modern Environmental Planning approach throughout SEE . A multilevel and comprehensive Partnership will ensure effective achievement of these goals: they will organize workshops and training, develop Pilot Projects, prepare Action, Business, Management and Environmental Plans; to promote efficient participatory management of CH sites, they will establish Cultural Site Management Partnerships. Finally, an EP Model will be developed as a strategic tool for lasting transferability of project results.
The rapidly changing contexts in our modern times pose a big challenge over the management of historic centers in SEE Europe. Cultural Heritage sites have problems in combining heritage conservation and modern infrastructure and services such as ICT networks, energy management, building restoration, traffic and transportation, water supply and sewage systems, waste management etc. The lack of multi-level exchange between responsible managing authorities and the missing integrated sustainable development strategies fully acknowledging the opportunities offered by the uniqueness of Cultural Heritage will eventually result in non-competitive historic areas affected by low amenity values for inhabitants and visitors alike. Transfer of knowledge and best practices from experienced countries is lacking International conventions on Cultural Heritage, signed by the governments of CHERPLAN Partners, strengthen the need to adopt a general strategy aiming to give Cultural Heritage a proper function in the life of the community and integrate heritage protection into comprehensive planning programmes. More than 40 World Heritage Sites exist in SEE , but only some of those founded after 2002 count on a Management Plan where the environmental aspects are often badly addressed or altogether missing. Cultural Heritage cannot be seen as a mere accumulation of significant monuments, but rather needs to be considered as a vital living space for its inhabitants: for this reason it is crucial to elaborate a shared strategy among SEE countries based on application of EP techniques coupled with a sound management of the historical sites and oriented towards a sustainable development founded on coupling preservation and enhancement of Cultural Heritage with modern infrastructure and services.
The Project will contribute to the historical sites’ growth and to job creation through appropriate financial tools (Business Plans) and training aimed at improving the capacity of national/local stakeholders. The Project is in line with the recommendations of EU horizontal policies since it has been built with the very objective to introduce and apply sustainable environmental approaches to CH, by linking economic development to preservation of cultural values and using a participatory process which guarantees equal opportunities for participants and avoids discrimination based on religion, gender and culture.