The Mediterranean Coast Day is celebrated in many Mediterranean countries through various activities to raise awareness of the importance of the coastal areas as natural and socio-economic resources that contribute to the sustainable development of the entire Mediterranean.
The event is promoted each year by the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), one of the regional centers under the UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). Through this event, PAP/RAC wants to promote the wise use of coastal ecosystems in order to preserve their precious values and to address the challenges that threat them, such as unwise infrastructure and tourism development.
Mediterranean Coast Day in Split, Croatia
On 25 September, representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and several Mediterranean States, experts, scientists and NGOs gathered in Split, for the central event to celebrate the Mediterranean Coast Day. The event counted with the support of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy of the Republic of Croatia and was an opportunity to discuss past successes and shortcomings of Mediterranean coastal management, as well as new environmental challenges that require a more ambitious and urgent action.
On this year’s Mediterranean Cost Day, PAP/RAC celebrated its 40th anniversary. The first part of the official morning session was dedicated to recollections of those 40 years illustrating the development of PAP/RAC from its humble beginnings to the respectable organisation that it is today. The speakers who had all been with the Centre almost all of that time spoke of the challenges encountered and the successes achieved.
Over the past 40 years, PAP/RAC, “the Mediterranean Coastal Management Centre”, has been instrumental to protect the Mediterranean coast. A major milestone was reached recently, in 2011, when the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol entered into force in the framework of the Barcelona Convention. Through this legally binding instrument, Mediterranean countries committed themselves to ensure the sustainable use and management of coastal zones. This includes, among other mesures, the establishment of a 100 meters setback zone in the Mediterranean coastal areas. To date, 10 Mediterranean countries and the EU have ratified the ICZM Protocol.
“Looking back at these progresses reminds us that change is possible. Economic growth doesn’t have to come at a cost to the Environment” said Gaetano Leone, UNEP MAP’s Coordinator. “But changes will require a regional approach. The Mediterranean is at a crossroads between three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. A real difference can only be made if Governments work together with greater ambition and urgency towards a sustainable use of the Mediterranean”.
In the second part of the session some of the latest success stories were presented and future tasks and plans indicated. Some important messages were heard. One of the most powerful was sent by Ms. Zrinka Cvitešìć, a famous Croatian actress, who was designated as ‘Ambassador for the Coast’ for 2018:
“Unfortunately, along with all the wars that are taking place, and that are terrible and stupid, there is one more in parallel: a war of man against nature“. She also pointed out that it is very important to recall the meaning of the word “measure” and apply it as much as possible.
Along with the official celebration, the previous weekend and during all of that day, a series of events for the general public were organised throughout the city. There were lectures at museums and institutes, open door days with guided tours, two photographic exhibitions, workshops, quiz games, presentations, film projections, etc. The main objective was to raise awareness of the beauty and values of the coastal zones but also about their fragility and threats that they are facing.
The “Legends of the Mediterranean”
In the framework of the celebration of Coast Day, PAP/RAC organised, at the Gallery of the Split City Museum, the exhibition ”Legends of the Mediterranean” by Stipe Surać, a Croatian photographer.
“Through a holistic, integrated approach, PAP/RAC seeks to promote better, more sustainable ways of using coastal resources that we often abuse by inappropriate behaviour. It is extremely important for us to preserve the natural beauties, the diverse landscape and the identity of the local populations of the Mediterranean region. This exhibition displays this, and preserves our tradition and heritage, so that the future of these areas is as beautiful as possible,” said Željka Škaričić, the Director of the Centre.
Coast Day in Arborea (Sardinia, Italy) promotes the sustainable use of the coastal resources
As part of the Maristanis project, the MEDSEA Foundation will organise, on 29-30 September, an international event to celebrate the Coast Day. The event will involve all the municipalities in the Golf of Oristano and in the Sinis Peninsula that are partnering in the Maristanis project.
The two-days activities aim at promoting the sustainable development of the territory, which experience two equally important needs: to protect the wetland ecosystems and their use in terms of sustainable economic development. This year, the Coast Day will host the Pecha Kucha, a presentation format of 20 images. The Pecha Kucha is opened to designers, architects, sustainability experts, green economy enthusiasts, photographers, artists, and handcrafters who want to expose their ideas and creative projects about coasts and wetlands.
A public dialogue entitled ‘’The Coast I want- in our biographies there is the sea’’, will be organized on 29 September, involving writers, architects, directors, sociologists and journalists who will discuss the protection and enhancement of the coastal landscape.
During the October weekends, the Local Coast Day will continue with field visits to the lagoons, workshops, exhibitions, guided tours, walks, conferences, tastings, birdwatching, activities dedicated to discover the coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Oristano and of the Sinis Peninsula and to strengthen their link with the local population.
Visit the official website of Mediterranean Coast Day: http://www.coastday.org/
Download the press release here.
Join the ´Off your map’ campaign on coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean led by MedWet: http://offyourmap.org/