Between development and protection imperatives: Mediterranean coastal areas in search of balance

New report of the MARE NOSTRUM project identifies good practices for sustainable coastal zone management and contains a set of recommendations to ensure a peaceful coexistence between economic and environmental interests which are competing in Mediterranean coastal areas.

Coastal areas of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea share common challenges: strong pressures for infrastructure, tourism and housing development, and vulnerability to hazards related to climate change, including sea-level rise and environmental degradation.

While a common legal framework for addressing the growing threats to the health of the Mediterranean exists (the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol - ICZM - of the Barcelona Convention for the protection of the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean) and has been adopted by most of the Mediterranean countries, its objectives and principles are not fully reflected in national and local legal frameworks.

A complex mosaic of legal and regulatory regimes, land rights, institutional structures and administrative cultures has thus so far characterized the management of the Mediterranean coastline. The overarching goal of the MARE NOSTRUM project is to foster the implementation of the legal aspects contained the ICZM protocol.

In the final report, partners from Israel, Greece, Malta and Spain carried out a comparative analysis of legal frameworks for costal zones management in Mediterranean countries, identifying successful regulatory tools. The report also contains a toolkit of alternative instruments to improve the sustainable management of the Mediterranean coastline.

Among the main recommendations of the MARE NOSTRUM project are the definition of a common method to delineate the coastline, the regular evaluation on change in sea level, the incorporation of ICZM principles in constitutions or the extension of the costal setback distance (zone where construction is prohibited) beyond 100 metres.

The final intent of the project is to provide decision-makers with a set of tools to reach a balance between development and protection imperatives.

To read the report, please visit the website of the MARE NOSTRUM project.

Prof. Rachelle Alterman
Project coordinator
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
+972 482.940.37