"The risk of coastal erosion is shared by all Mediterranean countries," said Prof. Rachelle Alterman of the Technion in Israel. "This issue pertains to the coastline, which should be viewed as a national and international asset. Governments should act to meet their obligations as presented by the Integrated Coastline Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol to the Barcelona convention," added Prof. Alterman, who is the initiator and coordinator of Mare Nostrum, an EU-funded international effort to produce new methods to protect and properly manage Mediterranean coastal regions.
|The Coastal cliff in Netanya, Israel|
Participants representing municipalities in Alexandropoulos, Kavala, Haifa and Netanya highlighted the pressing need for government action at the national level to tackle the coastal erosion problem. They stressed that their cities desperately need large-scale investments for environmental engineering projects, but that the response from both national and regional authorities generally lags behind. It takes years to draft, approve and carry out regulations to provide financing from the national level, participants said. “Meanwhile, magnificent environmental assets are being eroded away, sometimes even endangering human life.”
"Everyone talks about climate change and the importance of coastline preservation, but in the meantime the beautiful cliffs of the Mediterranean are endangered by government procrastination," argued Prof. Alterman. "Fighting cliff erosion requires significant investments. Mare Nostrum calls on all governments in the region to recognize this shared problem and act quickly."
Participants of the Mare Nostrum workshop came from universities, municipalities and NGOs in Greece, Spain, Malta, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.