abertis foundation’s headquarters the Castellet castle to house the UNESCO centre for Mediterranean Ecosystem Biosphere Reserves

  • The decision on the winning candidacy has been announced today in Paris as part of the General Conference of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).
  • Castellet castle, headquarters of the abertis foundation, will house a centre for the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves which will be designed to promote and develop activities to study, protect and conserve the environment.
  • This milestone strengthens the commitment shown by abertis and the abertis foundation to the environment, after many studies, research projects, publications and workshops supporting sustainable development.

Barcelona, Spain, 15-11-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — The headquarters of the abertis foundation, Castellet castle, will be a centre for the Mediterranean Ecosystem Biosphere Reserves supported by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). The decision has been announced today as part of the General Conference that the international organisation is holding in Paris.

The nomination will allow for an in-depth study of the Mediterranean region given that Castellet Castle is in a unique setting, with a rich biodiversity, and has the ISO 14:001 certification that guarantees good environmental management that minimises its impact in the region.

The plan of activities expected to be implemented at Castellet will be focussed on creating a collection of documents on sustainability in natural spaces, as well as on the environmental services of the Biosphere Reserves and indicators of sustainability in a network.

A database will also be created as part of North-South cooperation from the collection of publications about international cooperation that relate to the Biosphere Reserves and National Parks in the Mediterranean region. Seminars, meetings, educational programmes, excursions and informative walks will also be organised.

The nomination is an outstanding milestone for the abertis foundation. In the words of the President of abertis and the abertis foundation, Salvador Alemany, “that the headquarters of our Foundation will house the centre for the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves is an honour, and at the same time an opportunity to go further in terms of studying and protecting the environment, as well as the fantastic environment where Castellet Castle is located”.

For his part, the Director of Institutional Relations at abertis and Director of the abertis foundation, Sergi Loughney, expressed his gratitude for “the special interest shown in this candidacy by the Autonomous National Parks Agency and, by extension, by the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and the Environment and Education, Culture and Sport, as well as the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate for Spain in UNESCO, Juan Manuel de Barandica. I would also like to thank Catalonian Regional Government and the Parc del Foix Consortium, where the headquarters of our Foundation is located”.

Biosphere Reserves are geographic areas that represent different habitats across the planet and include both land and sea ecosystems. In the early 1970s UNESCO started to select natural areas in order to conserve and protect their biodiversity, as well as to encourage economic and human development in these areas, research, education and the exchange of information within the international network that today includes more than 560 Biosphere Reserves in 110 countries. Those were the first steps toward the concept of sustainable development that we know today as the MaB Program (Man and Biosphere).

The Abertis Foundation and the Environment

The abertis foundation is an organisation devoted to backing and disseminating studies of the impact of major infrastructures on the regions, especially on the economy, population and environment, always in cooperation with universities and academic institutions. The Foundation also channels some of the sponsorships from abertis and has a coordinating role in terms of the corporate social responsibility actions of the companies in the group.

The environmental policy of abertis is focussed on the progressive implementation  of an environmental management system in the different business areas of the Group, in accordance with the requirements of the international standard ISO 14:001, in order to minimise the environmental impact of the Group’s activities.

As a result, abertis is working to reduce the carbon footprint of its business activity (Carbon Disclosure Project), optimise waste management and retain the biodiversity of the natural areas that are home to all the infrastructures managed by the group. At abertis we also carry out activities to raise environmental awareness to extend the commitment to the environment to employees, customers and suppliers.

The history of Castellet Castle
The first reference to the castle dates back to a document from the year 977. The fortress was of major strategic importance until the 16th century. Over these centuries control of the castle alternated between several houses of feudal lords, the counts of Barcelona (in the 11th century) and the crown of Catalonia-Aragon (in the 15th century). From then onwards, the castle went through successive periods of decline until it fell into ruin. Between 1928 and 1930 the castle underwent partial restoration work, covering the structures of the central and western parts. The abertis foundation completely restored it and today it is the headquarters of that organisation.

The archaeological work carried out recently makes it possible to state that there has been a human presence on the hill where the castle stands since the time of the Iberians, 2,500 years ago, and that the spot has always been connected with keeping a watch on transport routes: the river Foix and the Via Herculia, later renamed the Via Augusta, now the AP-7 motorway.

Abertis in France
abertis, led by Francisco Reynés, is the largest Spanish investor in France. Over recent years, the group has carried out cumulative investments of around 5,000 million euros in the country, extending its presence in its toll-road and telecommunications infrastructures business areas.

In 2006 the company took over the concessionaire group sanef (Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France), after the awarding by the French Government in 2005 of the contract for the privatisation of this company to the Holding d’Infrastructures de Transport (HIT) consortium, led by abertis with a 52.5% stake. Other members of the consortium include Caisse de Dépôts, the insurance group AXA, the French investment fund Predica and the company FFP, controlled by the Peugeot family.

The addition of sanef to the group extended the network of roads managed by abertis by 1,757 kilometres of toll roads serving the north of France, Normandy and Aquitaine. sanef manages four of the seven toll-roads for accessing Île de France (region of Paris) and also the traffic that connects Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg with the north of France and the United Kingdom.

In the telecommunications infrastructures business, abertis is a shareholder in the satellite operator Eutelsat.

The Abertis Foundation in France
The abertis foundation launched its activities in France in 2011 with the creation of a chair, in conjunction with the École des Ponts ParisTech and IFSTTAR, for training and research into infrastructure management, as well as the launch of a training programme for young people on highway driving: Autoroute Académie.

The abertis chair, which consists of a network of partnerships with different universities, will shortly increase its international presence with the creation of one in São Paulo (Brazil). It currently includes: the abertis-UPC Barcelona Chair in Transport Infrastructure Management; the abertis-École des Ponts ParisTech-IFFSTAR (Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l’Aménagement et des Réseaux) chair; the abertis-UPR (Universidad de Puerto Rico) chair; and the abertis-Universidad de Chile chair. All of these are focussed on research into infrastructure management in the different regions where they are located.

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abertis foundation’s headquarters the Castellet castle to house the UNESCO centre for Mediterranean Ecosystem Biosphere Reserves

abertis foundation’s headquarters the Castellet castle to house the UNESCO centre for Mediterranean Ecosystem Biosphere Reserves


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