of the 7th Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes

Lucca, Italy, 27-29 September 2017

Adopted on occasion of the 7th Annual Advisory Forum of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe - “30 years of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: Building dialogue and sustainable development through European values and heritage” 27-29 September 2017, Lucca, Italy.


The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) was established in December 2010 and enables closer co-operation between member states interested in the development of Cultural Routes.

The Annual Advisory Forum is the most important and significant annual event of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe programme and it is the occasion to debate priorities, review progress of the implementation of the Cultural Routes and share experiences. Each Forum provides an occasion to discuss and provide guidelines on how to implement the EPA strategies, focusing each year on different topics.

The Lucca Forum 2017 "30 years of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: Building dialogue and sustainable development through European values and heritage", gives particular attention to the role of Cultural Routes in promoting the Council of Europe’s values, local development and new spaces for creating intercultural dialogue.

Three main themes were explored:

1 - 30 years of Cultural Routes history, values, and future perspectives;

2- Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism: democratic participation, local development and accessibility;

3 - Promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and the role of culture in international relations

As an outcome of the Forum, this roadmap, composed by a set of actions, is proposed to implement the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe “30th Anniversary of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (1987-2017)” in the daily activities of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and the University Network


The Committee of Ministers reaffirms Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe as a tool to:

1. Promote a closer unity based on the values of the Council of Europe through better knowledge of European cultural heritage and the management of Cultural Routes by civil society.

Cultural Routes, as elements of cultural heritage, can thrive at its best through activities shared among partners within civil society and on the basis of the Council of Europe standards.

a. Organise in major cities scheduled, coordinated "presentations" of the Routes and their core principles, missions and examples, possibly connecting some of them thematically or geographically;

b. Continue raising awareness of the positive role of the cultural routes amongst wider civil society by developing outreach programmes using the widest range of media;

c. Organise activities dedicated to young people coming from different European Countries;

d. Integrating the message of the Cultural Routes programme into the ordinary curricula across the education system.


2. Development of innovative approaches and international cooperation in the field of cultural heritage, sustainable tourism and local development.

Cultural Routes are “shared public spaces” and represent platforms to implement the conventions and recommendations of the Council of Europe on cultural heritage, landscape and spatial planning. Cultural Routes work actively to create connections between diverse regions of Europe, paying special attention to the inclusion of those less known.

a. Develop more cooperation amongst Cultural Routes and connect them to major arts exhibitions, cultural initiatives, and theatre / music festivals, according to their themes;

b. Develop tool-kits for routes to implement practices that will result in local and regional economic development based up the sensitive and sustainable valorisation of cultural heritage;

c. Develop digital application dedicated to Cultural Routes to be easily used by the Routes and the public to co-create contents;

d. Integrate Cultural Routes in EU territorial cooperation programmes and macroregional strategies.


3. Encourage intercultural dialogue among member states of the Council of Europe and beyond.

Cultural Routes have increasingly become an instrument of cultural diplomacy.

One of the aims of the Cultural Routes is to "promote dialogue between urban and rural cultures, between regions in the south, north, east and west of Europe, and between developed and disadvantaged regions" and "promote dialogue and understanding between majority and minority, native and immigrant cultures" (CM/Res(2013)67).

As stated in the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, “Cultural Routes […] naturally cross borders and connect cultures. Art and culture create a space of expression beyond institutions, at the level of the person, and can act as mediators”.

a. Mobilise Cultural Routes as a mechanism for increasing social inclusion;

b. Encourage cultural routes to translate and communicate the values embodied in the cultural routes and to build mutual understanding of pan-European cultures;

c. Increase awareness about the charters, conventions, recommendations and work of the Council of Europe relating to culture and intercultural dialogue;

d. Enlarge the geographical coverage of certified Cultural Routes;

e. Support twinning agreements among regions and EPA member States;

f. Support students’ exchanges and experiences along Cultural Routes as a means for civic education.


4. Strengthen multilevel governance, cooperation and relationships at the international, European, national and local levels

The development of Cultural Routes relies greatly on policies and practices at national and regional level. Local communities are also fundamental to plan, implement, and manage Cultural Routes, guaranteeing their success and impacting cultural tourism.

a. Strengthen the role of the Cultural Routes as a voice for local communities so that they can input into national and international policies regarding sustainable tourism and regional and local cultural development;

b. Support and spread sustainable and responsible tourism enterprises and social entrepreneurship through specific training;

c. Introduce participatory processes in tourism planning.


5. Develop innovative approaches in the fields of research and development.

Cultural Routes offer the opportunity to develop multidisciplinary researches and stimulate cross-border cooperation. Research reinforces the work and the narrative of the Cultural Routes.

a. Foster the collaboration between scholars of humanities, arts and social sciences in order to define the needs / methods of "measurable" and "evidence-based" implications;

b. Explore new possibilities in research and development in order to effect creative approaches to cultural routes and to maximise their impact upon local communities and wider civil society;

c. Reinforcing the work of the university network and increasing the links with the Cultural Routes;

d. Widen the competences and disciplines of Universities involved in the NCRS;

e. Develop funding opportunities together with the European Commission, DG Research for future calls on H2020.