On 16th May the opening conference of the Interreg Europe Programme-funded Green Pilgrimage project was held in Canterbury, UK. For the next five years this project will be supporting European regional policies in capitalizing the positive impact as well as further exploiting the the inexplored potential od pilgrimage cultural routes in Europe for the cultural and natural heritage safeguard and promotion. Indeed, according to United Nations’s data every year 330 millions of people go to pilgrimage toward religious destinations in the world.
The European Association of the Via Francigena promoted and assisted the development of this project proposal. It was invited by the Diocese of Canterbury and by the Kent County Council to take part at the opening conference as speaker. Ms Silvia Lecci, Manager of the EAVF European projects and for interregional cooperation, presented the EAVF as the lead network of the Via Francigena cultural route which has been awarded the Council of Europe certification since 1994. She also emphasized EAVF commitment in coordinating and motivating European public and private actors to develop the route and put into practice the European values. Such a mission is also pursued south of Rome, with Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, toward Jerusalem.
In the next days EAVF was also invited the Puglia Region to take part as stakeholder at the other meetings which took place until 19 May, in order to exchange experiences with the other European partners.