Mediterranean Coast Day: Numerous Experts Gather in Split to Protect the Coast

Daniela Rogulj

Numerous experts will gather for Mediterranean Coast Day on September 25, 2018, in Split where the PAP/RAC is one of the six regional centers of the UN’s Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).

September 20, 2018 – This year, on Mediterranean Coast Day, the UN’s Action Plan for the Mediterranean (MAP) marks the 40th anniversary of one of its constituents – the “Coast Management Center” (known as the PAP/RAC). Over the past 40 years, PAP/RAC has been the key coordinating body for the protection of the Mediterranean coast. Nine Mediterranean countries and the EU have already ratified the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol, which establishes, amongst other things, a 100-meter security zone to stop the degradation of the Mediterranean coastal area, of which 40% is already covered by structures built by the human arm. This seventh consecutive protocol of the Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Environment in the Mediterranean Region came into force in 2011 and became a legally binding instrument that obliged the countries to manage and use coastal areas.

For Mediterranean Coast Day, numerous experts will gather on September 25, 2018, in Split where the PAP/RAC is one of the six regional centers of the UN’s Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). The participants are representatives of the United Nations and Mediterranean countries, the scientific community, associations and other civil society components. They will discuss the successes and disadvantages of managing the Mediterranean coastal area as well as new environmental and developmental challenges that require more ambitious and urgent action.

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most appreciated seas of the world, a home of great biodiversity, with 17 percent of the well-known marine mammals present in an area covering less than 1 percent of the world’s oceans. The Mediterranean Sea also plays an important role in the economy of the surrounding countries and is an important source of employment. It is estimated that 420,000 people work in the fisheries and mariculture sector, while 550,000 are employed in maritime transport. The coastline of the Mediterranean Sea is responsible for 30 percent of the world’s tourist arrivals.

However, this economic growth has occurred at the expense of the environment, and heritage and resources have experienced progressive decay over the decade, with man-made pressures becoming more and more intense, coupled with the impacts of climate change. Today in Mediterranean countries, one in three lives in coastal areas, and most of them are concentrated in large cities. While cities occupy only three percent of the Earth’s surface, they spend over 75 percent of the natural resources.

However, experts repeat that economic growth and the protection of the Mediterranean can and must be in agreement, and this will be the central theme of the Mediterranean Coast Day in 2018.

“The Mediterranean is located at the intersection of three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. A real difference can only be achieved if the governments act swiftly, together and with greater ambition for the sustainable use of the Mediterranean,” said Gaetano Leone, MAP coordinator.

“An important milestone in aligning policies concerning the Mediterranean coastal area has just been through the adoption of the Protocol, whose provisions should help the countries of the region  achieve the vision and goals they set for the benefit of all of us and those who will come after us: reverse the negative trends and secure a space that is comfortable for living and is productive, unique and attractive. The role of the PAP/RAC as the coordinator of the Protocol’s implementation throughout the Mediterranean region is exceptionally large and responsible,” said Željka Škaričić, head of the PRP/RAC center in Split.


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