The Coast Day was launched in 2007 as a key awareness raising event of the SMAP III project. It was designed to effectively raise awareness of the importance of the coast, as well as of the ICZM as the optimal policy framework for achieving sustainable development of coastal areas. In each of the project countries, namely Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority (the West Bank and Gaza), Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the EU, an NGO has been selected with the main objective to organise the Coast Day event. Even though the Coast Day was celebrated in the Mediterranean and the EU, the idea was promoted internationally, throughout the network of institutions and organisations involved in ICZM.
This initiative was aimed at increasing environmental awareness among policy makers, academia, media, NGOs and the locals. Promoting and implementing activities that at the same time treasure fragile ecological, social and cultural contexts, should lead to a sustainable coastal development. Thus, a special emphasis was placed on the media, TV in particular, as it is considered to be the most powerful awareness raising tool. Already in 2007 a TV spot advertising the Coast Day was prepared (Watch Movie). Through the eyes of a child, the advert takes us on a journey to a coastal future in which we have failed to tackle the worst problems of pollution, development and climate change. But the message is one of hope as we are brought back to a vision of the sustainable coast we want and can achieve. The spot has been shown 20-odd times on various TV stations throughout the Mediterranean. Also, on October 27, 2007 a TV show "Ambiente Italia", broadcasted on the Italian national TV Rai Tre for 20 years every Saturday afternoon dealing exclusively with environmental issues, was dedicated to the Coast Day and to the coastal management. Additionally, promotional materials were produced, including brochures, leaflets, CDs and video materials.
Also, PAP/RAC invited distinguished persons, eminently qualified to invite policy makers of all the countries to collaborate on raising awareness of the value of the coast to be the Ambassadors for the Coast. Their role includes participating at the central celebration of the Coast Day and supporting the efforts in raising awareness of the value of the coast and its sustainable development through interviews, messages and alike. So far, six Ambassadors for the Coast have been appointed (see the appropriate menu option on the right).
Even after the official closure of the SMAP III project, the Coast Day continues to be celebrated annually in the Mediterranean. Each year the central Mediterranean celebration is organised in a different country, while other countries organise their own events. Thus, in 2007 and 2008 the central celebration was organised in Sardinia, Italy. In 2009 the host to the central celebration was Turkey, in 2010 Slovenia, in 2011 Algeria, in 2012 Croatia, in 2013 Italy, in 2014 in Tunisia and in 2015 in France. You can read more about the central celebrations in the “News” section, as well as about the national events. Originally October 24 was chosen as the Mediterranean Coast Day, but it has now been changed to September 25 to honour the date when Slovenia ratified the ICZM Protocol as the first Mediterranean country to do so.