COAST DAY CELEBRATED THROUGHT THE MEDITERRANEAN

Apart from the central regional celebration in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Coast Day 2019 was celebrated in several other Mediterranean countries.

Slovenia traditionally had a Coast Week. This year it comprised various sea and beach cleaning activities and a number of workshops on different subjects, including, for example, green infrastructure. The activities were launched on Monday, September 16, with the Clean Coast Forum “Marine litter in marine protected areas with emphasis on cleaning of the coast”. The event was organised as a side event of the Clean Coast 2019 organised by the Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia. The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of marine litter management in marine protected areas (MPAs). On Tuesday, September 17 a Meeting of EUSAIR key implementers and ESIF/IPA Programme Authorities was organised. The aim of the meeting was to continue the dialogue among partners on how to build synergies and embed relevant EUSAIR priorities into the ESIF/IPA Programme, to establish transnational cooperation for the benefit of the macro-region and its stakeholders. After the meeting the Mediterranean Coast and EU Macro-regional Strategies Week 2019 celebration was officially opened. In the following three days a number of workshops were organised: EUSAIR Communication workshop; How to progress from TSG 3 priorities towards EUSAIR macro-regional projects"; How to progress from mono-pillar towards joint inter-pillar projects"; Green infrastructure 4 Green future (Presentation of activities in the field of GI planning and management); Perspectives of sustainable mobility in Slovene Istria. As that was also the European Mobility Week, they devised a slogan for the European Mobility Week campaign: "Walk on foot". Activities were organised by schools and kindergartens to stimulate children to walk. Finally, on Saturday, September 21, the Clean Coast 2019 was organised. Clean Coast is a traditional clean up event that is carried out in the area of Slovenian coastal municipalities. Beside the clean-up action, the event is orientated at raising awareness to reduce the amounts of litter that could end up in the marine environment. The Clean Coast event is organised within the International Coastal Cleanup Day. The collected data on the amounts and types of collected marine litter is sent to organisation Ocean Conservancy which prepares an Annual Report.  

On Wednesday, September 25, the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management of Montenegro organised official promotion of a documentary-educational film on the Budva Tunja (submarine sandbar), starting at 11 a.m. in the “Cadmus Cineplex” cinema in Budva. The main objective of the film is to promote cultural and historic values of the area, and enhance and update information on the state of and threat facing its biodiversity. As has become Tradition the Public Enterprise has prepared an educational poster on the protection and preservation of the environment and biodiversity. This year, the theme of the poster is preservation of sand dunes of the Long Beach of Ulcinj. The intention is to familiarise school-age children with themes important for the preservation of the coast and sea, their biodiversity, landscape and natural and cultural heritage. The poster will be distributed to all elementary and high schools in Montenegro.

In Split (Croatia) this year’s Coast day was also marked. On Wednesday, September 25, the first of a series of 10 workshops entitled “Embrace the Sea”, which will be organized  by the end of November 2019, took place at the City library “Marko Marulić”. Accompanied by a facilitator from the Centre for Integrative Bioethics of the University of Split, a group of ten-year-old children had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of respecting the coastal and marine environment by following the storytelling adventures of an adventurous beagle who, for the first time, encounters a sea turtle. "What drives people to throw waste at sea?", "What will become of our oceans if we continue to reject plastic waste?" or "Can we change our habits to avoid damaging endangered species?”. These were only some of the questions raised by children and to which they sought answers with the help of their facilitator. We hope that they will continue reflecting on these fantastic ideas at home, at school and share them with friends. And of course, we look forward to future workshops that promise to be rich in positive interactions too. The event “Embrace the Sea“ is organized by PAP/RAC, Administrative Department of Tourism and the Sea of the Split-Dalmatia County in the frame of “Pomorsko je dobro” (“Maritime property is good”) project, association "Petit philosophy", Split, Centre for Integrative Bioethics, Split and the Split City library “Marko Marulić”.

Within the MAVA Project, and with PAP/RAC support, Coast Day celebrations were organised in three project pilot sites:

Coast Day 2019 in Sardinia (Italy) was blessed by great attendance and generous coverage from regional media. Four main events drew people from all over Sardinia: the Blue Hackaton, the Declaration of intent related to the “Coast Contract”, the inauguration of the first Ramsar House in Sardinia - and a cleanup organized in the Mal di Ventre Island. Sixteen people divided in four groups worked for two days, hunting down and elaborating an innovative idea around the themes of plastics and sustainable navigation. The winner was “Ocean hemp”, a project that aims at replacing plastics in nets and ropes. The prize of 1,500 €, was granted by Nieddittas, a big aquaculture enterprise which, within the Coast Day, organized guided visits through its sustainable production. Ten out of the eleven municipalities involved in the Maristanis project signed a declaration of intent related to the Coast contract, which should lead to a systemic and collective management in the gulf. The signature ceremony was held in S. Vero Milis. In S. Vero Milis the first Ramsar house in Sardinia was also inaugurated. It’s the “Museo dell’intreccio”, where the old art of braiding is represented and relaunched through new models with the intent of saving the ancient bond existing between wetlands, population and work. You can read more about the event here. Last but not least, another success was the clean up set in the wild “Mal di Ventre island”.

Tunisia. On the occasion of the Mediterranean Coast Day and in the framework of the GemWet project, a 24 hour event entitled “H24O” was organized by WWF NA in Ghar el Melh on September21-22. A series of workshops and storytelling activities were organized as part of a camping that took place around the lagoon of Ghar el Melh in order to raise awareness of climate change and how it could affect the water resources of Tunisia. The celebrations began on September 21 in the Sebkha of Sidi Ali el Mekki, where Mr. Ali Garssi, a local farmer, hosted 40 campers to present the “Gtayaa”, a traditional agriculture technique specific to Ghar el Melh. During the night, Mr. Mustapha Jebril and Mr. Othman Gara, two locals, joined the camping festivities and presented the history of the region and its characteristics to the participants. On the second day, Informative Workshops were moderated by Dr. Raoudha Gafrej, a Water and Climate Change specialist. During the workshops, participants learned about the situation with water in Tunisia, the impact of climate change on the natural resources and the role of wetlands in the mitigation of these effects. The 24 hours were concluded by a cleaning campaign that took place around the wetland of Ghar el Melh.

Albania organised its first Coast Day this year. It was held in the Buna River Velipoje Protected Landscape. Albania is a country rich in wetlands - lagoons, lakes (artificial and natural ones), rivers, and swamps, both salt and freshwater ones. There are four major wetlands and Ramsar sites of national and international importance: Buna River and Shkodra Lake, Prespa Lakes, Butrinti Lake and Divjaka-Karavasta. The Velipoje wetland is also important for migratory birds, such as Herons (Fam. Ardeidae), Ducks (Anserids) and Waiders of many different species. The celebration was organised by the Living Buna project partners with the support of National Agency for Protected Areas and the RAPA of Shkodra. This activity joined together local institutions, local NGOs & operators, and more than 150 pupils and students from the Buna river-Velipoja area. The celebration of the Coast Day started with the establishment of the BRVPL Stakeholder Committee, a meeting hosted by the Prefect of Shkodra. The more informal part of the programme was open and the audience was addressed by the members of the  BRVPL Stakeholder Committee, Mr. Çesk Millja, the Prefect of Shkodra, Mr. Agim Dardha, Director of the Regional Agency for Protected Areas, Mr. Genti Kromidha, President of INCA, Mr. Konstantin Gospodinov representative of IUCN, and Mr. Neven Stipica representative of PAP/RAC. The Coast Day celebration in Albania was a mosaic of activities, from the protected coastal area cleanup and a bicycle race, to a photo contest and a traditional fair with regional food and local arts and crafts. A part of the celebration was made of artistic program with traditional songs and dances of the area since the local tradition is considered as an integral part of the community culture and daily life.

Posted on Sep 25, 2019