Although relatively small, coastal areas are considered to be the most valuable part of national territories in most of Mediterranean countries and world-wide. According to the Blue Plan Report on Environment and Development in the Mediterranean (RED, 2005), coastal regions, which occupy 12% of the national territory, are inhabited by 33% of their population. The total share of the Mediterranean population in the world population is around 7%, while the Mediterranean is a destination for about one third of the world tourists.
Coastal areas are also environmentally fragile and prone to conflicting situations in their use. People move to coastal areas in large numbers, permanently and seasonally. In addition, coasts are home for numerous industries, transport activities, agriculture, etc. all producing waste and largely consuming water and energy. In many respects, the Mediterranean coastal development is a key to sustainable development of the entire region.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) has proved to be the most efficient "tool" for sustainable coastal development. It is about conflicts, complementarities and synergies among the human activities in coastal areas and about their effects on coastal resources and ecosystems. It is a way to ensure that human action is undertaken with a concern over balancing economic, social and environmental goals and priorities in a long-term perspective. A long-term perspective is essential for managing coastal zones. Anticipating future needs and future problems enables us to act early to enhance expected positive developments and to mitigate eventual conflicts and problems. ICZM focuses on facilitating dialogue across different sectors and levels of government, agreements and compromises between all parties involved in the use of coastal resources. It is a participatory process which involves strategic planning that considers local values, traditions, needs and priorities for efficient coastal management.
It became obvious that no real progress would be achieved in the field with the existing ICZM recommendations or guidelines and that time has now come to take one further step, ensuring more effective application in the field. To this end, the only truly viable solution is the adoption of a legally binding regional instrument. The adoption of a new regional legal instrument would confirm the concrete, scaleable scope of the Barcelona system, that has always been a precursor in its field. A regional legal instrument for coastal areas would be an innovation in international law, in view of the fact that there have been unsuccessful attempts, but no ipso facto precedent of regional initiatives. The implementation of such a completely novel legal instrument for international cooperation would carry obvious political weight for the Mediterranean and could serve as a model for other regional seas. At their 14 th Ordinary Meeting, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its protocols (Portoroz, November 8-11, 2005) decided to launch the preparation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol.
After an extensive and intensive consultation and negotiation process, the ICZM Protocol was signed at the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries on the ICZM Protocol that took place on January 20-21, 2008 in Madrid. The ICZM Protocol is a unique legal instrument in the entire international community and the Mediterranean countries are proud of this fact. They are willing to share these experiences with other coastal countries of the world. So far, seven Contracting Parties have ratified the Protocol which entered into force after the 6th ratification on March 24, 2011.
A VISION OF THE FUTURE COAST
A coast that is:
- Resilient - resilient to future uncertainties of climate change, including rising sea levels, warming and drought; resilient to extreme storms, earthquakes and erosion; resilient to human processes, including the pressure of tourism and urban development on the coast.
- Productive - productive financially in traditional, modern and future economic sectors; supporting the economic aspirations of the coastal community; providing a competitive asset to the local economy, high in natural and economic values - increasing GDP and alleviating poverty.
- Diverse - ecologically diverse: a rich mosaic of marine and terrestrial ecosystems; diverse rural and urban landscapes, old and new; a diverse economy - providing a diverse, but distinctly Mediterranean experience.
- Distinctive - retaining the cultural distinctiveness of coastal areas, including their architecture, customs and landscapes, recognising the Mediterranean as the “cradle of civilisation” - providing a distinctive marketing image on which to attract investment.
- Attractive - retaining the attractiveness of the coast, not only to visitors, but also to investors and local people to promote a self-sustaining cycle of sustainable growth.
- Healthy - free from pollution from land and marine-based sources, clean fresh and marine waters and the air - providing a healthy environment for people, natural resources such as fisheries, and wildlife.
By supporting this event you can help Coast Day become a year-long protection of and care for our coastal heritage. You can help our coasts live on not only as recreational resorts, but as a cradle of life that they have always been.
Let Coast Day become more than a symbolic anniversary of coasts. Let it become a year-long joint activity dedicated to our coastal environment and people living there.
A vision of the future better coast can only be achieved with your support. Make a donation or sponsor Coast Day activities in your country (link) and help us make a difference.
For more information, please, contact Mr. Neven Stipica at: