Monday, March 11, 2013

Policy tools and Med coast initiatives focus of Mare Nostrum's Kickoff conference

During the three-day Mare Nostrum opening conference, experts from different countries shared experience with various tools and information about laws and initiatives related to the Mediterranean seafront.

“The Mare Nostrum project is different from other ICZM projects in that it focuses on what needs to be done to improve conservation and management and how to carry this out,” explained Mare Nostrum initiator and coordinator Prof. Rachelle Alterman, referring to the EU Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (ICZM). The Mare Nostrum project “will provide alternative tools for incremental improvement of implementation measures from the bottom-up, with emphasis on action at the local level. Each local government faces its own particular obstacles and impediments,” she noted.

Director of the Priority Action Plan, Regional Activity Center (PAP/RAC) at UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan, Zeljka Skaricic described the Pegaso project to facilitate ICZM implementation among scientists, stakeholders and policy decision-makers in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions by linking scientific knowledge and information required for the sustainable management of both coastal areas and marine environments.


Former coordinator of COBSEA, the UNEP Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, Dr. Ellik Adler, said that the program’s experience shows that it is critical to train the planners, government authorities and practitioners. He also stressed the importance of local level action in the absence of funds at higher levels of government.

Speakers related when and how coastal environmental protection legislation was enacted in their countries. Pablo Gorostiza Fryeiro of the Foundation Port Institute of Studies and Cooperation of the Valencian Cummunity (FEPORTS) described Spain’s demolition policy. University of Palermo Prof. Francesco Lo Piccolo said that demolition of illegal development along coasts in Italy has occurred only in rare exceptions. Prof. Fatma Unsal, of Turkey’s Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, stressed that it is “essential” to incorporate ICZM into planning legislation.

PPGIS session at Mare Nostrum Kickoff event
Democritus University of Thrace Prof. Georgios Sylaios described the Coastal Zone Observatory, established as a department within the municipality of Kavala, Greece, which monitors land uses and development pressures, assesses impacts, analyzes legal and administrative obstacles, involves the public and stakeholders through PPGIS and other means, and proposes concrete policy actions.

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