THE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ON THE MEDITERRANEAN COASTAL ENVIRONMENT
13-17 November 2007, Alexandria, Egypt
MEDCOAST’s Alexandria Declaration
The Eight International Conference on the Mediterranean Coastal Environment, MEDCOAST 07, 13 – 17 November 2007, Alexandria, Egypt, was organised in collaboration with three Egyptian institutions namely; the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF), Coastal Research Institute (CoRI) / National Water Research Centre and Arab Foundation for Marine Environment. One-hundred and twenty papers, covering a wide range of coastal and marine subjects, were published in 2 volumes of conference proceedings totalling 1474 pages and were presented in keynote, oral and poster sessions.
We, two hundred and twelve (212) Conference participants, representing twenty-eight (28) countries, in appreciation of the charms of the Town of Alexandria and warm Egyptian hospitality and;
• Being aware of uniqueness of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coastal environment, the importance of the coastal areas as the melting pots of the cultures of the people in the riparian states, and the significant role of these areas in the economic development of the countries, and the wealth of the populations;
• Noting the efforts of the Mediterranean countries under the framework of the UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) for regional collaboration towards improving integrated coastal management;
• Applauding the interest of the European Union for contributing to capacity enhancement of the non-EU states of the Mediterranean and Black Sea countries to better manage their coastal and marine areas;
• Witnessing with concern the delays in the establishment of an effective mechanism for regional management of the Black Sea since adoption of the Bucharest Convention in 1992 and the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan in 1996 and worried by insufficient level of decentralised collaboration for environmental protection and management of coastal areas over the basin;
• Observing that the interest for economic development often overtaking conservation and protection concerns especially in the southern and eastern countries, often resulting in unrecoverable, important losses;
• Appreciating the fifteen-year long MEDCOAST activities for sharing data, information, knowledge and experience and for region-wide capacity building towards the goal of advancing integrated coastal management in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and welcoming the establishment of the new Mediterranean Coastal Foundation;
Unanimously agree to bring out the following observations and recommendations to the attention of the national, regional and international institutions dealing with coastal and marine issues, as well as of the public:
1. Collaboration over the Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins should be extended beyond the intergovernmental programs. Creation and functioning of decentralised networks aiming at co-operative efforts to improve coastal and marine management practices should be encouraged by the international programs and donor institutions. In this context, the Mediterranean programs of the European Union, which created a significant momentum in the region for decentralised co-operation in the first half of the 1990’s, should be revitalised, and similar programs for the Black Sea should be initiated. Instruments should be designed to substantiate the interaction of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea networks.
2. For sustainable development and efficient management of the coastal and marine areas of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, inter-governmental co-operation must be expanded beyond the level of the environmental ministries, as it is presently achieved by the MAP system. Intergovernmental collaboration over the important regional issues, such as tourism development and management, fisheries, marine transportation of dangerous products and of refugees, must be effectively institutionalised. Independent Mediterranean and Black Sea intergovernmental institutions should be created for the collaborative management of these regional issues. Progress and achievements of regional management schemes must be effectively monitored and compliance of the riparian countries with regional legislation must be effectively enforced. All Mediterranean and Black Sea countries are invited to ratify all protocols that have been already enacted within the Barcelona and Bucharest systems.
3. Important coastal systems such as beaches and dunes, wetlands and marshes, lagoons and estuaries must be given proper attention and care. Capacities must be developed especially in the non-EU countries for ecosystem based management of these areas.
4. The pristine coastal and marine sites that possess important ecological, cultural and aesthetic values should be protected against destructive development, and some of these areas should be left aside for the benefit of the future Mediterranean and Black Sea communities. Further coastal and marine protected areas must be created and managed by using the ecosystem approach. Formal networks of coastal and marine protected areas should be created over both basins for generating mutual benefits from their past management experiences and for developing collaborative efforts for research and capacity building. The European Union and the EU countries, by using the available and new international mechanisms, should provide resources to the non-EU countries for management and protection of such sites, in addition to compensation for the opportunity cost of conservation.
5. Development of tools and techniques for coastal and marine management and generation of the essential data and information should be promoted. Collaboration of basin wide scientific institutions through existing or to be created networks should be encouraged. Especially, special mechanisms should be created for involvement of the non-EU countries in the regional coastal and marine projects financed by the EU Framework Programs. Well designed regional research and monitoring programs should be supported. The European scale projects such as EUROSION and PLANCOAST should be reformulated and applied at the basin-wide scale for both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in order to bring benefits to the non-EU countries from these valuable coastal experiences. The scope of the Short and Medium Action Plan (SMAP) of the European Union should be widened to cover scientific and monitoring projects of regional networks. Preparation of the Mediterranean Coastal Atlas is an important example for such collaborative regional projects.
6. The synergy among the programs of the intergovernmental institutions, such as the UNEP’s MAP, BSAP and UNESCO’s IOC, and the regional efforts of decentralised scientific and professional networks should be improved. The international programs should benefit to the maximum capacity from the capabilities and efforts that exist at the regional scale. Such collaborative efforts and task sharing will produce not only higher quality products, but will also be significantly cost effective. The capabilities of MEDCOAST, being the most developed regional network for research, human capacity development and information sharing in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and of other similar organisations, should be fully utilised by the intergovernmental programs. The scientific meetings and training courses, which have been organised by MEDCOAST since 1993, provide significant opportunities for capacity building and for inputting into the inter-governmental programs dealing with coastal and marine management. Such events should be effectively utilised and financially supported.