The Foundation

Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions

Through training, research, dissemination and social participation initiatives, we sow knowledge in the field and share it, favouring Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions.

The Castillo de Chuecos Foundation for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions (Mediterranean Sustaintability) is the result of the collaboration agreement signed in March 2015 between the University of Murcia (UMU) and the company Castillo de Chuecos S.L., owner of the Chuecos de Arriba Estate, where the Foundation’s project is being developed.

The general aim of the aforementioned agreement was to “sow knowledge in the territory and share it”, promoting training, research, dissemination and social participation initiatives in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the rich Iberian southeast, with the Finca de Chuecos as the setting.

The Chuecos de Arriba Estate, with a surface area of 488 hectares, located in the Sierra de la Almenara (Águilas), with ZEPA and LIC accreditation, is integrated in the EU’s Natura 2000 Network. This estate, with an extensive historical and natural heritage, will host the Centre for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions managed by the Foundation as one of its main operational objectives to achieve the foundational objectives we are pursuing.

Photography: Mario Navarro

See Objectives

The main objective of the implementation of this Centre is the sustainable and exemplary management of the assets of the Chuecos Estate, forming a representative model of the Southeast Mediterranean, an international reference to follow. Decisions are taken on the basis of the composition of a Board of Trustees made up of scientists, academics and businessmen who are committed to “sowing knowledge in the territory and sharing it”. Converting this space, which has been preserved for more than 20 centuries, into a singular protected space following the 2005 Management Plan recognised by the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia (CARM) and included in the Management and Conservation Plan of the ZEPA ES0000261 Almenara, Moreras, Cabo Cope.

The experience of these initial years has shown the enormous scientific, academic and informative potential of the project.

Background

We contribute to the sustainability of societies through the Social and Solidarity Economy where achievements are measured by the social welfare generated.

Situation

The situation in the Mediterranean Regions is bad, unsustainable, although the margin and potential for improvement is so enormous that they are the Regions that could benefit most from the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in general from the sustainability paradigm.

The Mediterranean Regions, starting with South East Spain, are areas generally characterised by an unsustainable situation, by an inefficient and ineffective use of their vast and varied available resources, including human resources.

Regions where the crisis is not one of resources, contrary to what is usually pointed out, but of management, of mismanagement, of these resources.

The Castillo de Chuecos Foundation aspires that Sustainability, understood as an integrating framework for new policies with a strong territorial, regional or local base, together with Governance or Good Management, as a new way of making policies and implementing them on the basis of greater empowerment of civil society, offer a great opportunity for the Mediterranean Regions if they are translated into exemplary realities.

The activity of the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation certainly falls within the third sector, the social and solidarity economy, as an instrument to support the achievement of a social state in which achievements are measured by social welfare.

Our activity focuses on contributing to the sustainability of societies and, in particular, of Mediterranean regions, where the need and potential are even greater.

We understand Sustainability as the achievement of a higher quality of life now and in the future and for a growing majority of the population, in an inclusive society and towards full employment”. As an operational and updated translation of the concept of Sustainable Development coined in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations. 

The sowing of knowledge in the territory for its dissemination through access to demonstrative and experimental actions and projects linked to the territory, and its elaboration and contrast in the Thematic Centres located in the territory, are considered as identity instruments of this contribution of the Foundation.

"We recover and conserve natural capital and biodiversity as a valuable asset of the Mediterranean Regions. "

Territorial area

The activities will be carried out mainly in the farms and facilities managed by the Foundation or by third parties in the territorial area of the municipalities of Águilas and Lorca and the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia.

This scope may be extended, through the appropriate contracting and collaboration instruments, to other areas of Spain and the northern and southern Mediterranean and the Maghreb and Sahel which, in addition to benefiting from the activities developed in the farms and facilities managed by the Foundation, may also host activities of the same in their areas of natural influence (collaborative knowledge).

Photography: Guillermo Carrión

Constitution

Timeline

Foundation Chronology

  • 2003. Acquisition of the Chuecos de Arriba Estate by the trading company Castillo de Chuecos S.L. for its sustainable and exemplary management.
  • 2005-2015. Integral Management Plan (CARM, Águilas Town Council). Forest Restoration Plans, Erosion Management, Rehabilitation of buildings…Agricultural Uses (Aloe Vera). Collaboration agreement with the University of Murcia (UMU).
  • 2019. Agreements with the UPCT. Promising Crops, Hedgerows Programmes. Creation of the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation for “Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions, sowing knowledge in the field to share it”.
  • 2020. Creation of the first Action Plan of the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation to be implemented in 2021.

Committee for the Constitution

Committee for the Constitution of the Foundation

It was formed by Francisco Robledano Aymerich, member of the Commission for the University of Murcia, Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, member of the Commission for the company Castillo de Chuecos and Emilio Ballester Fernández, President of the Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF).

Founding Protector Partners

The Committee for the Constitution of the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation established the figure of Founding Protector Partners for the Institutions, Organisations, Companies, persons or entities with legal personality willing to support the establishment of the Foundation by contributing to its Founding capital. In the end, seven companies were confirmed as Founding Protector Partners. Thank you all for your collaboration and esteem.

With these entities as Founding Protector Partners (FPP), it was possible to cover the Founding Capital necessary to establish the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation. The SPF, as well as giving their approval to the initial Board of Trustees of the Foundation, can attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation with voice but without vote, and have access to the services and facilities of the Foundation under special conditions.

Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees

  • PRESIDENT: Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, former Executive Director of the European Environment Agency.
  • FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT: Patricio Franco Chumillas, Director of the School of Industrial Engineering of the Polytechnic University.
  • SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT: Elena Pascual Pastor, Expert in business administration.
  • SECRETARY: Francisco Robledano Aymerich, Professor of the Department of Ecology and Hydrology at the University of Murcia.
  • TREASURER: Emilio Ballester Fernández, President of the Sustainable Development Foundation.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board

A consultative body at the disposal of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees to advise on issues related to the Foundation’s strategic planning, the development of medium and long-term plans and programmes and proposals in specific areas of interest, as well as to supervise specific activities in the different Thematic Centres envisaged.

Its members, a minimum of ten and up to a maximum of twenty, will be appointed by a majority of the Board of Trustees on the proposal of the Protector Members, who may also be candidates if they are individuals, and following the periods detailed in the Statutes.

Aims, Mission, Vision and Values

“Sustainability in a Mediterranean Central Park ”.

Foundation's aims

Promote the Sustainable Management of territories in Mediterranean Regions, with priority given to the Region of Murcia and neighbouring provinces. And, as far as possible, in the entire Mediterranean area, both North and South, extending its actions to the Maghreb and the Sahel and giving priority to territories of high environmental and ecological value that can contribute to the progress of the communities established in them.

Create and manage the Centre for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions (hereinafter CSRM) that will host the 4 Experimental Thematic Centres (CTEs) supervised by Universities (UMU, UPCT,…), Training and Research Centres or Companies and Third Sector Entities that share its aims, which may start their activities before the opening of the CSRM, in the field of:

  • Circular Economy and Connected Self-Sufficiency, including an Institute/Platform for Circular Economy and Connected Self-Sufficiency.
  • Business Management of Protected Areas, Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration, including the creation of a Nature and Sustainability Classroom and a Platform/Institute for Business Management of Natural Areas.
  • Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture and Land Use, including an Observatory for Promising Crops and a Centre for Regeneration of Semi-Arid Areas and for Assisted Drying.
  • Construction and Infrastructures (Energy, Water…) for Sustainability, including the Energy Sustainability Academy and the Energy-Water Platform which will be the driving elements of the CSRM.

Foundation Values

The Castillo de Chuecos Foundation promotes an environmental social welfare project involving civil society, companies with a social responsibility component (CSR) and the third sector that collaborate in the achievement of the Foundation's objectives and projects.
Transparency
Through the scientific and academic dissemination of the reality of the Mediterranean Regions we develop a constructive vision for a better future projection for all.
Long term commitment
By establishing itself as a Heritage Foundation aspiring to include the territory as a heritage asset and at the same time ensuring its permanence over time through the annual returns of this heritage asset once it has been put to good use, and also by establishing itself as a supplier of services and even of its own products, all of them with high added value defined by the knowledge they treasure.
Legitimation
Achieved on the basis of the experience of 16 years of patient recovery of the functionality of a territory of high environmental value and with the appearance of a small eco-systemic unit, which now allows the establishment of a real third sector entity that acts efficiently to show the future sustainability of the responsible management of territories in semi-arid areas and in particular in the Mediterranean Regions.
Singularity
For its strong conceptual basis, revaluing two of the least appreciated/utilised resources in the Mediterranean Region today: knowledge and territory. Both are correctly paired under the integrating framework of sustainability and the operational reference of connected self-sufficiency.

The Foundation's mission

Accessible knowledge, sustainable progress.

Facilitate, through intense collaboration with Universities and a transfer of their assets to the territory, operational access to knowledge for makers, municipalities, companies (large, medium and small), the third sector and citizens in general in order to put into practice the paradigm of sustainable progress.

This sustainable progress is understood simply as progress based on knowledge, as opposed to the prevailing unsustainability based on ignoring what we already know.

Foundation's vision

A better future. If there is no sustainability, there is no possible future.

Our vision of a better future is to create an exemplary and dynamic space in which experimental spaces converge in four Thematic Centres that, in an inspiring environment, organise knowledge and its translation into operational concepts that can be transferred to the different realities of the Mediterranean Regions.

To create in Águilas (Region of Murcia; Spain) and more specifically in the Chuecos Valley, guarded by the ancestral Chuecos Castle, the “Sustainability Central Park“, with its size similar to New York’s Central Park.

Objectives

The Castillo de Chuecos Foundation promotes an environmental social welfare project involving civil society, companies with a social responsibility component (CSR) and the third sector that collaborate in the achievement of the Foundation's objectives and projects.

With the Foundation and its Centre for Sustainability in the Mediterranean Regions, the aim is to:

 

  • Enhance the management capacity of the Chuecos farm and its facilities and infrastructures, including external ones, to continue the overall objective of the Convention to promote Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions, which share growing challenges due to Climate Change and also potentials for a more hopeful future.

 

  • Changing the model of natural resource management and sustainable development at all scales. It is a matter of making Climate Change a proximate motivation for a change that is necessary, in any case, in the face of the various manifestations of indisputable Global Change.

 

  • >To bring together public interests (represented by the Municipalities of Águilas and Lorca and the CARM), the scientific community (represented by the University of Murcia (UMU), the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT), and private entities (represented by the third sector: Foundations, Cooperative Associations, NGOs and Companies in general) that are or want to be part of a sustainable future.

The proposal has been preceded by a feasibility analysis of the Foundation based on existing experiences and the potential in terms of possible demands from the Centre for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions (CSRM).

Operational objectives

Sustainable and exemplary management of the farms and facilities managed by the Foundation under a contract of use or ownership, or through collaboration agreements. Research, experimental and demonstration projects on the farms and facilities managed by the Foundation, or by third parties, through collaboration agreements or contracts.

Courses, seminars, workshops, congresses and any other teaching, education or training activity, including a permanent Environmental and Sustainability Education classroom.

To develop the necessary capacities and lines of activity, both to contribute directly to the fulfilment of the foundational aims, and to generate the resources that make them possible.

To have at its disposal the properties and facilities necessary for the fulfilment of its aims by means of the appropriate contractual forms, in Use and Management or in Ownership.

To carry out the economic activities necessary for the fulfilment of the aims.

And, in general terms, to carry out as many actions as are conducive to the best achievement of its aims.

To dispose of the properties and installations of the company Castillo de Chuecos S.L., under the regime of Lease/Use and Management and in the future in Property, by means of a Contract. These installations are located in the municipality of Águilas on the border with Lorca.

Financial objectives

It is foreseen to establish in the short term the calendar for the progressive extension of the Foundation Fund and its consolidation in stages according to the necessary investments, in particular for the rehabilitation and adaptation of buildings and infrastructures. Capital that is considered necessary to have the appropriate assets for the fulfilment of its functions as a Foundation, mainly the establishment of the Centre for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions in the Finca de Chuecos site.

Business Plan 2020/2025

The economic objective is to achieve in less than three years sufficient capital to build up the Foundation’s assets to generate the annual income required to fulfil its functions and to provide for these assets, with the Foundation becoming fully operational within five years.

This five-year period would be separated for the purposes of the Business Plan into two stages.

A first stage (2020-2022): establishment, development and consolidation of the Foundation on the basis of the Founding Capital and the consolidation of the indicated Assets (planned for the end of 2021).

A second stage (2023-2024): full operation of the Foundation once both the Assets and the Budget corresponding to the full activity of the Foundation together with the Centre for Sustainability in Mediterranean Regions have been consolidated.

In order to participate and collaborate with the Castillo de Chuecos Foundation, there are a multitude of possibilities for individuals and legal entities, organisations, entities or institutions to participate in the Foundation through different formulas of academic, scientific, business or individual training, or simply for sustainable leisure.

The activities planned include: environmentally responsible tourism, scientific or research presentations, thematic meetings, conferences with business groups, cooperatives and NGOs or externally funded training, research and experimentation projects.

See Business Plan 2020/2025