The CADISPA Programme

In 1989, the WWF-Inter-national and the European Union - General Direction XI - created the CADISPA (Conservation and Development in Sparsely Populated Areas) programme. Through Europe, this programme was able to gather a group of motivated people with various experiences and skills and a common effort to reach the goal: help the local communities in the sparsely populated areas of Europe in their attempt to improve their economical condition, without compromising their rich cultural and natural heritage.

CADISPA is an innovative development programme. The projects were developed "bottom up", by the people of local communities that analyse their situation and are able to find the adequate solutions to solve the problems found. It stimulates the rural populations to develop and improve their abilities to be able to take over their own future. CADISPA is a project for people and gives people the main role in its priorities.

The CADISPA programme started as an environmental education programme for the Scottish islands and highlands, but it went a very long way. Since then, it developed and spreaded in a network including six European countries, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden, where the protection of the environment is connected with economical development, using very different methods.




In Scotland, for example, the CADISPA programme involves the initiatives of the local communities and offers opportunities to find a job, especially for women in remote areas. An environmental education programme in Aspromonte and in the Cilento regions became a CADISPA programme which helps answering the needs of the local communities using also the potentialities offered by agriculture and rural tourism. In the National Park of the Aspromonte an old trail followed by the English writer Edward Lear in 1850 was re-discovered. It has now become a beautiful trekking trail along which several families offer their hospitality to the tourists. The WWFs mail-order catalogue allowed to present all over Europe and in Japan the organic olive oil produced by a local cooperative in the National Park of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano, in the framework of the project. Moreover, new initiatives of eco-sustainable green tourism were designed and implemented.
Around the lake Prespa, in Greece, the activities of the CADISPA project give new job opportunities with green tourism and, at the same time, the production of organic beans cannot satisfy the big demand of the market.
In the village of Mertola, in Portugal, the ancient weaving activity was re-created, and the old wind and water mills have been restored and could start working again.
In the southern part of Spain, the CADISPA project worked with the local governments to raise the awareness about the importance of the environment and improve the measures of conservation adopted.
In Sweden, the Saami population used the support offered by the CADISPA network to protect their rights as a population raising reindeer, for their rights go back to 10,000 years ago.


In Italy, this project was implemented in the National Parks of the Aspromonte and of the Cilento-Vallo di Diano.

The following activities have been carried out:

  • promotion and public awareness campaigns;
  • environmental education and awareness activities;
  • training courses for teachers;
  • training for tourist operators;
  • training for olive oil producers about eco-sustainable techniques;
  • research and enhancement of local handicraft and products;
  • analysis of the area and socio-economical studies;
  • rural animation activities;
  • activation of pilot-projects for eco-compatible activities;
  • creation of a network of widespread hospitality in the National Park of the Aspromonte
The CADISPA Programme