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Nordic Blue Parks

Nordic perspectives on underwater natural and cultural heritage

image of Nordic Blue Parks

How can natural and cultural values be a resource for sustainable development? That is the question the Nordic Blue Parks project has tried to answer by providing case-studies of regional and local success stories, thereby assessing the possible synergistic effects of cross-sectoral working with both nature- and cultural heritage bodies. Nordic Blue Parks is a new concept that combines underwater nature and cultural trails in four Nordic countries, i.e. Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The Nordic Blue Parks project has created an international forum to foster ties not only between the various groups working regionally on this project, but also to engender links between the general public and their own cultural and natural resources. Through this project both natural and cultural administrations from several Nordic countries have for the first time cooperated concerning the underwater environment. The Nordic Blue Parks project ably integrates components of sustainable development and provides new economic possibilities to develop local natural tourism, international cooperation, education and research, as well as cultural identity.

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Case studies of existing underwater trails

Historic shipwrecks represent significant elements of our common past and they are becoming increasingly recognised as important marine resources for research, interpretation, tourism and education. One of the basic principles of the ICOMOS Charter on the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage (signed in 1996) has been to preserve the underwater cultural heritage in situ. Additionally, it is written in the 1999 ICOMOS draft of the International Cultural Tourism Charter that: “Reasonable and well managed physical, intellectual and/or emotive access to heritage and cultural development is both a right and a privilege”.

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