About

On the Greek island of Samothraki an unconventional story unfolds, where UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve concept, has been employed in order to propose and implement an alternative vision of local development from the bottom-up. The point of departure has been the wish to preserve an island with unique natural and cultural heritage from potentially destructive pathways and to come up with an alternative development model. After several years of preparatory research and open dialogue an idea in the minds of regular visiting scientists was scrutinised by the local community and gradually shared with a wider group of inhabitants and the local authorities. Drawing on a series of feasibility studies and enduring communication efforts, the mayor of Samothraki, with the unanimous support of the municipal council, submitted an application to UNESCO for Samothraki to be included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, currently pending, while the community council has committed to pursue an operational plan in the direction of sustainability. A Biosphere Reserve future combines the concern for the environment with the concern of sustainable livelihoods of the community and a promising future for the young. It is an open framework that invites participation, ideas and resources from all sides. It will be filled with life to the degree the inhabitants and visitors of Samothraki invest their expectations and enthusiasm into this endeavour. We hope this –ongoing– case develops into a model for sustainability to inspire and influence other sites in the region and beyond, towards more sustainable goals. In this website you will find information about the island, past and current research activities, as well as the history and future of Samothraki as a Biosphere Reserve!