The Coast Day serves to promote the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) as the optimal policy framework for achieving sustainable development of coastal areas. The Protocol on ICZM in the Mediterranean was signed in Madrid in 2008 by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention. 10 years later, it was ratified by 11 countries and the EU. This Protocol is unique in the world in providing legal support to securing sustainable development of coastal areas. Back then in 2007, in each of the project countries, namely Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority (the West Bank and Gaza), Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the EU, an NGO was selected to organise the Coast Day event. Even though the Coast Day was celebrated in the Mediterranean and the EU, the idea was promoted further afield, throughout the network of institutions and organisations involved in ICZM.
This initiative was aimed at increasing environmental awareness among policy makers, academia, media, NGOs and the local populations. Promoting and implementing activities that at the same time treasure fragile ecological, social and cultural contexts, should lead to a sustainable coastal development. Thus, a special emphasis was placed on the media, TV in particular, as it was considered to be the most powerful awareness raising tool. Already in 2007 the first TV spot advertising the Coast Day was prepared (Watch Movie), and was shown on various TV stations throughout the Mediterranean. In the meantime another promotional video has been made, as well as a number of short films documenting Coast Day celebrations.
In order to ensure high visibility of the call for an active engagement to safeguard our coasts and the sea, PAP/RAC has invited distinguished persons, eminently qualified to invite policy makers of all the countries to join us as the Ambassadors for the Coast. Their role includes participating at the central celebration of the Coast Day and supporting the efforts in raising awareness of the value of the coast and its sustainable development through interviews, messages and alike. Each year a new Ambassador for the coast is appointed.
After the closure of the SMAP III project, the Coast Day continues to be celebrated annually in the Mediterranean. Each year the central Mediterranean celebration is organised in a different country, while other countries organise their own events. Thus, in 2007 and 2008 the central celebration was organised in Sardinia, Italy. In 2009 the host to the central celebration was Turkey, in 2010 Slovenia, in 2011 Algeria, in 2012 Croatia, in 2013 Italy, in 2014 in Tunisia, in 2015 in France, in 2016 in Spain, and in 2017 in Montenegro. The host of the 2018 Mediterranean Coast Day will be Croatia. You can read more about the central celebrations in the “News” section, as well as about the national events. Originally, October 24 had been chosen as the Mediterranean Coast Day, but it has now been changed to September 25 to honour the date when Slovenia ratified the ICZM Protocol as the first Mediterranean country to do so. Now, September 25 is the date when we celebrate along the Mediterranean the beauty of the life here on our coast, and we invite you to join in and take an active engagement in safeguarding our sea and our coast.