MEDITERRANEAN COAST DAY 2017 – A GLOWING SUCCESS

The 2017 Mediterranean Coast Day, organised on September 25 in Tivat, Montenegro with the main topic “Protect our Sea”, was a glowing success. The main event was attended by 150odd participants, representatives of several Mediterranean countries, and a large number of representatives of institutions and other components of the Montenegrin civil society.


Mr. Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro, opening the Mediterranean Coast Day 2017

The event was organised under the high patronage of Mr. Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro and President of the National Council for Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, who opened the event and gave a highly inspired speech. He confirmed the awareness of the highest political levels of Montenegro of the value of the coastal zones and environmental issues these face, and dedication to resolve them. Combined with great efforts made by relevant institutions, including the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management, Montenegro has achieved great results that can serve as example for other countries to look up to.
 

Address by Mr. Gaetano Leone, UN Environment/MAP Coordinator

Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the UN Environment / Mediterranean Action Plan, expressed his gratitude to the hosts and in particular to Mr. Vujanović for honouring the event with his presence, as a testament of the commitment of Montenegro as a steady supporter of the Mediterranean Action Plan. Mr. Leone noted that since 2007, the Mediterranean Coast Day has offered an opportunity for the entire MAP system to celebrate the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal areas but also celebrating partnerships, of all stakeholders at all levels sharing a goal: a clean, healthy and productive Mediterranean. Mr. Leone also stressed that the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol was an innovative response to growing pressures on the coast, with the objective of promoting sustainable development, supporting the notion that the development of coastal management systems could truly attain economic, social and environmental objectives if addressed in an integrated fashion.


Ms. Željka Škaričić, PAP/RAC Director, gives welcome address

Ms. Željka Škaričić, PAP/RAC Director, expressed her satisfaction that the 2017 Mediterranean Coast Day was organised in Montenegro, a country that excelled with regard to the achievements related to the Barcelona Convention, and in particular the implementation of the ICZM Protocol. With its approach to coastal zone management, the adopted national strategy for ICZM, the results achieved within the CAMP project and its concrete follow-up, Montenegro is a shining example of implementation of and involvement in UNEP/MAP-led initiatives, setting an example for the others to follow. In her opinion, large public deserves to learn about those achievements, and the Mediterranean Cast Day celebration offered a good opportunity for that.

 
Mr. Saša Radulović greeting the participants

 Mr. Saša Radulović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, greeted the participants on behalf of Mr. Pavle Radulović, Minister, who was unable to attend due to obligations at the Government. He expressed satisfaction with the fact that they were one of the organizers and hosts of this year’s event, especially given that cooperation with UN Environment / Mediterranean Action Plan and the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre represents a crucial component in the creation and implementation of the policy of sustainable development of the coastal zone of Montenegro. Changing unsustainable development patterns that have led to over-urbanisation, marine environment pollution and damage to environmental and biological resources on land is a demanding process requiring dedication, long-term planning and re-orientation to development harmonised with the environmental capacities. That was the reason why Montenegro has decided to apply Integrated Coastal Zone Management and ecosystem approach. In that context, the implementation of the Coastal Area Management Programme, support by PAP/RAC in the preparation of a new Coastal Area Spatial Plan respecting the requirements of the ICZM Protocol, as well as the adoption in June 2015 and implementation of the National Strategy for ICZM, have lain the foundations for sustainable development of the coastal zone of Montenegro until the year 2030. Mr. Radulović stressed several times the support they receive from the UN Environment / MAP and its components, and particularly thanked them for deciding to organise the 2017 Mediterranean Coast Day celebration in Montenegro.

 
Mr. Predrag Jelušić welcoming the participants

Mr. Predrag Jelušić, Director of the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management welcomed the participants on behalf of his organisation which was one of the organisers of the event. He pointed out that the Public Enterprise had organised for years local celebrations of the Coast Day marked by educational and promotional activities aimed at raising awareness of the problems facing the coastal and marine environment. He briefly presented the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management. For 25 years they have been taking care of the public maritime domain of all 6 coastal municipalities. Their activities are focused on: giving concessions for the use of parts of the public maritime domain for tourism and other activities, organisation of beaches, harbours of local importance, mooring sites, location of temporary structures, management of protected areas, as well as maintenance of coastal infrastructure and public surfaces. They launch and implement projects of strategic importance, such as the preparation of the Strategy of Sustainable Beach Management. Also, for the first time in Montenegro they have started tackling the problem of beach erosion. Another successful project was rehabilitation of the Tivat Salt Pans which were transformed from an abandoned area into a special reserve and tourist attraction visited for bird watching and recreation. Mr. Jelušić informed the audience that transformation is expected of the Public Enterprise into the Agency for Public Maritime Domain Management which will expand their jurisdiction and strengthen their role, especially in the field of special coastal ecosystems protection and implementation of the ICZM Protocol. They firmly believe that the coast has to be preserved for future generations through actions at both national and local levels, and they pay special attention to cooperation with the civil society and especially children. Accordingly, they organised a number activities for children to complement the central event and Mr. Jelušić invited the participant to join them after the conclusion of the official event.


Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Vice-President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Ambassador for the Coast 2017

 For his great personal contribution to the cause, and in particular CAMP project in Montenegro, it was decided to award the title of the honorary Ambassador for the Coast 2017 to Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Vice-President of the Parliament of Montenegro. In his inspired speech, he reiterated the commitment of his country and pointed out that the reforming turn towards the models of sustainable management of the coastal resources has importance not only for the coastal area but for the sustainable development of the entire Montenegro as an ecological state.
 
The programme of the event also included several presentations on the positive experience of various countries dealing with environmental issues, as well as on some important projects about to be launched in the area. Ms. Ingūna Urtāne, Director at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, made a presentation on Marine Spatial Planning: the HELCOM-VASAB experience. Ms. Sara Lovrović, President of the Local Board of Silba, Croatia presented the experience of the Island of Silba in dealing with marine litter.

           
               Ms. Ingūna Urtāne                                                                Ms. Sara Lovrović                  

Mr. Lorenzo Galbiati, MPA Network Project Manager at UN Environment/MAP, presented two projects “The MedProgramme: Enhancing Environmental Security - Child project 2.1: Mediterranean coastal zones: climate resilience, water security and habitat protection” and “Enhancing regional climate change adaptation in the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas”. Ms. Marina Marković, PAP/RAC Programme Officer, presented the project “Implementation of Ecosystem Approach in the Adriatic Sea through Marine Spatial Planning“ (GEF Adriatic).

       
 Mr. Lorenzo Galbiati                                                      Ms. Marina Marković 

Sustainable development of the coast of Montenegro was presented through three components: Integrated Coastal Zone Management by Ms. Marija Mijušković of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism; Marine Strategy Framework Directive by Ms. Ivana Stojanović of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism; and Maritime Domain Management by Ms. Aleksandra Ivanović of the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management. All the presentations are available in the “Documents” section.

           
   Ms. Marija Mijušković                     Ms. Ivana Stojanović                  Ms. Aleksandra Ivanović

After the presentations Mr. Mitja Bricelj, MAP and PAP National Focal Point of Slovenia took the floor and thanked all the organisers for the excellent event and particularly the authorities of Montenegro for accepting to host it. The official part of the 2017 Mediterranean Coast Day celebration was closed by the screening of a 12-minute film prepared with the CAMP Montenegro project.

 
In parallel with the official event, a number of educational workshops and activities were organised by the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management with the objective of education the youngest members of the society on the need to preserve marine biodiversity, recycle waste and reduce waste in the sea. A sea bottom cleaning action was organised on the weekend preceding the event in collaboration with the “Arsenal” and “Neptun Mimoza” diving clubs. The waste was to be sorted and selected according to the standards of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, under the guidance of experts from the Institute for Marine Biology, Kotor. In collaboration with the “Neptun Mimoza” diving club, the Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management organised a lecture on diving in ecology for the students of the “Mladost” high school within which the children were informed on the very important role of divers and diving clubs in the protection of the coastal and marine environment.


Sea bottom cleaning action, Sunday, September 24

A workshop on recycling within the campaign “Each can counts” was also organised by the “ReCan” Foundation. After a lecture on recycling the children had the opportunity to drive a special bicycle pressing cans and making them ready for recycling.


 Pressing cans for recycling

Through a lecture and games, the children participated in a workshop on marine biodiversity, organised by the „Green Home“ NGO. The “Drama Studio, Budva” prepared and performed a play “Looking for Ljubica” which speaks of coastal and marine protection

  
Workshop on marine biodiversity

  
“Looking for Ljubica”

The ecological activities organised in Tivat were attended, among others, by Ms. Željka Škaričić, PAP/RAC Director, who greeted the, praised the activities and invited all the involved parties to continue fighting for the preservation of the coast with same energy and enthusiasm.


Group photograph with guests

All the participants in the ecological activities received presents and materials relative to coastal and marine environment protection provided by PAP/RAC and Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management.

  
 Public and actors at the play                                             Presents for the children

The Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management has been marking the Coast Day for nine years now by similar activities. Also, each year they prepared a poster relevant to that year’s theme. This year the poster dedicated to the waste in the sea was prepared in collaboration with the Institute for Marine Biology, to be distributed to elementary schools.


2017 poster “Waste in the Sea”

The highly successful day was rounded up by a cruise through the magnificent bay of Boka Kotorska, the deepest bay of the Adriatic Sea with highly indented coastline.

Besides the central regional celebration in Tivat, Coast Day 2017 was celebrated in Tunisia and Algeria, while Slovenia had its traditional Coast Week.
 
In the framework of the Mediterranean wetland project of the MAVA Foundation, PAP/RAC supported the organisation of a local celebration of the Coast Day in Ghar El Melah, Tunisia, on September 26, 2017. The area of Ghar El Melah has been selected as a pilot site for this regional initiative, where PAP/RAC will have a leading role in defining an integrated coastal resources management plan, alongside with the GWP-Med. PAP/RAC and WWF North Africa organised the event in cooperation with the Tunisian Coastal Agency (APAL), and under the auspices of the Governor of the Bizerte Region. The major stakeholders of the area gathered and shared their vision of and expectations from the sustainable development of the area. In addition, the local inhabitants and NGOs joined the debates, including the local fishermen and urban planners. This event was a true illustration of what the Coast Day is all about for the MAVA partners who will have the opportunity to organise such events in the coming years. At the same time, it was a good starting point for the MedWet overarching communication campaign. Indeed, after the institutional presentations and the discussions, the partners visited the wetland centre of Ghar El Melah, located in the fort dating back to Ottoman times and being under the UNESCO’s protection. Welcomed by the pupils of one of the local schools, the partners had a chance to discover the local handcrafting. The kids were one of the key attractions, and the 1st channel of the National Tunisian TV that followed the entire event, did not miss a part in the actions they undertook that day, especially the cleaning activities in the old harbour of the city. Also, a field trip around the project area was organized for the MAVA partners.

In Algeria, the “Association Ecologica de SKIKDA”, in collaboration with the Directorate of the Environment of Skikda and young volunteers, organised a beach cleaning action on the Molo de Stora beach, on September 26, 2017. The aim of this action was to raise awareness of the population of the issues of safeguarding the coastal and marine environments, threatened by waste, mainly plastics. Thirty bags of waste, including plastic bottles and cans, as well as a lot of macro waste such as lids, cigarette butts, etc. were collected. The association has also planned other actions since at the end of the summer season the beaches are covered with waste.  To celebrate ten years of its activities, the National Commissariat of the Coast of the Wilaya of Tipasa took the opportunity of the Coast Day to organise a photographic exhibition. It was presented by the Head of Delegation.

In Slovenia, the first workshop within the Mediterranean coast week and macro-regional strategies entitled “Networking for Ecological Connectivity and Green Infrastructure” was held and successfully concluded in the Škocjan Nature reserve, Koper, on September 19. The day after, on September 20, as part of the all-day programme at the Grand Hotel “Bernardin” in Portorož, an official opening of the event was held, during which the Mediterranean Coast and macro-regional strategies were supported by numerous distinguished speakers including Ms. Lidija Stebernak, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, and Mr. Jure Leben, State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure. The workshop "How to focus synergies between integrated coastal management and maritime spatial planning in concrete projects" was held on September 21 at the Manzioli palace in Izola. The purpose of the workshop was to upgrade the conclusions of the preliminary thematic workshop from 2016, thus creating a longer-term and integrated vision for the Adriatic-Ionian Sea area also from a spatial point of view. In addition to the main programme several side events were organized, such as the car-free day action – sports with us, Clean Coast 2017, World Tourism Day, Researchers’ Night and workshops in Izola, University Campus Livade. For more info visit the dedicated site.