09-13  November 1999, Antalya, Turkey










This declaration is issued by 370 delegates from 50 countries who participated in the joint international conference, MEDCOAST ’99 - EMECS ’99, Antalya, Turkey. The conference represents the convergence of two perspectives for improving environmental management of coastal seas: MEDCOAST, a regional initiative for the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, coordinated from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, and EMECS, a global forum for policy makers, scientists, engineers, educators, and members of non-governmental organizations that is coordinated by the International EMECS Center, located in Kobe on the shore of the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. The unifying conference theme was, ‘Land-Ocean Interactions: Managing Coastal Systems’.


  • As the initiatives approach the end of their first decade, we recognize that we have crossed a familiar coastal landscape. We stand now overlooking a coast where a vast new sea sparkles in the sun. Today we see only a little of this new coastal sea, but future generations will surely walk its shore, sail its waters and harvest its resources.
  • The familiar landscape is still well marked by traditional boundaries. There are the political lines of local juridistictions, states and nations. Researchers continue to define ecological differences between river, bay, land and sea. Each of us has become comfortable in our individual roles as biologist or hydrologist, engineer or manager, policy maker or citizen.
  • The new sea stretches to a distant horizon without apparent limits. Automated monitoring techniques are generating large amounts of information, much of it in real time, that shows how the sea changes from day to day, month to month, year to year in response to changing land use and global climate trends. Satellite images are revealing how local coastal problems relate to regional sea processes and to those of the world ocean. Electronic communication is making this wealth of new information available to everyone at the same time: researcher, political official and concerned citizen alike. It is truly a seascape without familiar boundaries; its navigator is technology; day and night no longer dictate how clearly we view its waters.

The participants in MEDCOAST ‘99/ EMECS ’99 invite our regional and global colleagues to join us in the task of building the best vessels possible to help our children and their children navigate this new seascape and sustain the full potential of its resources. We will work together across traditional boundaries and assume personal responsibility for achieving our goal, irrespective of our nation, our discipline, or our role in life. We will meld old values into a new ethic that takes into account the true contribution a clean and healthy coastal environment makes to our social and economic well being. Finally, we will use new information technology to provide to those who teach our young people the products of our research, the fruits of our wisdom and the benefits of our experiences.

We recommend that the following actions be undertaken by those who conduct national, regional and international environmental programs, as well as by individual policy makers, engineers, scientists, and concerned citizens:

  1. Every effort must be made to both to encourage and to improve communication between researchers and policy makers to ensure that environmental management of coastal seas is based on sound scientific information obtained by using the best technology available.
  2. We must pursue an interdisciplinary approach that includes not only the natural sciences but also economics, law, ethics, and aesthetics as the bases of more effective environmental policy, using coastal seas as excellent models for dealing with the complex interaction between land, water, and human endeavors.
  3. Active and informed public participation must be paramount importance and every effort must be made to inform citizens, directly and by working more closely with non-governmental organizations, about what all people can do to improve their coastal waters and sustain their irreplaceable resources.
  4. We must develop a new kind of environmental education, one that directly involves their schools by using the Internet and distance education to promote the use of coastal seas data and information to enrich curricula not only in science and mathematics but also in history, literature, and the arts.
  5. It is time yo recognize the urgency of restoring and conserving coastal environments by turning policy into practice, realizing theory by taking action, eliminating delay by moving now.
  6. We must strengthen cooperation at local, national and regional levels, recognizing that land-sea interactions transcend political boundaries and are part of the global ecosystem which we all share.

We encourage governments and organizations that fund environmental programs to join this commitment by providing urgently needed resources, paying special attention to the protection and restoration of coastal seas in developing regions. We recommend that such support be provided to help all nations, including those of the Black Sea area, to become full participants in regional and global initiatives for improved environmental management of the world’s coastal seas.

Let us begin now!


Antalya, Turkey

12th November 1999

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