Mr. Oliviero Montanaro, Director General for Sustainable Growth and Quality of Development of the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, has for more than 20 years been actively engaged in the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment and coastal region through the implementation of the Barcelona Convention in his role of MAP and PAP/RAC Focal Point for Italy.
Since the beginning of his career, he has participated and directed committees and commissions, both of a technical-scientific and political-strategic nature, in the regional and local, national and international, and in particular European and Mediterranean areas. Notably in his role he has been involved in the preparation of the text of the ICZM Protocol, a completely novel legal instrument for international cooperation, and in its implementation.
Ms. Xenia I. Loizidou is a civil/coastal engineer (PhD). For 30 years she has been a researcher, a European and international expert, a volunteer and an activist in the fields of coastal zone management, marine environment and dynamics, climate change, participatory decision making for our common natural resources and sustainable development strategies, policies and practices.
She has worked in more than 50 countries, travelling the coasts and the seas of the world. She holds several offices and has received numerous international awards for her work on the protection of coastal and marine environment, such as the Iconic Woman Award by the Women Economic Forum in 2016. Her work is included in the U.S. State Department’s "1000 Ocean Actions" initiative and she is highlighted in 20th anniversary report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report GEM 2018/2019. She is the author/co-author of more than 200 published papers in Scientific Journals and International Conferences, of books (e.g. IPCC publication) and Technical Reports. Since 2015, she is the first Greek Cypriot coordinator of the Technical Committee for Gender Equality within the peace-building negotiations for Cyprus.
Xenia is very honored to accept the title of Ambassador for the Coast 2019. She will work hard to make the most of this honorary title, to advocate and spread the word: “Our coasts are our home. Mare Nostrum is in danger. Act!”
In 2018, the title of honorary Ambassador for the Coast has been awarded to Ms Zrinka Cvitešić, exceptional artist and famous actress who has been building her career both on film and in theatre, in Croatia and abroad.
She is the winner of numerous awards for her acting, among which we would like to point out the one for the best actress from the Mediterranean awarded her on a film festival in Egypt in 2010, and the prestigious “Laurence Olivier” award she received in 2014 for her role in the highly acclaimed West End musical “Once”.
Apart from being a great actress, she is also a great supporter of environmental causes and a proud owner of an olive grow in the island of Brač. The oil produced from her olives is of such quality that it was prized in Croatia two years in a row: bronze medal in 2016 and silver medal in 2017.
Ms Cvitešić pointed out that she was fortunate to visit a number of Mediterranean countries and that it would be a great honour for her to be ambassador of such a beautiful region rich in unique and diverse features.
The honorary title of “Ambassador of the Mediterranean Coast” for 2017 was awarded to Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Vice-President of the Parliament of Montenegro.
For years Mr. Gvozdenović has been at the forefront of the Montenegrin administration in contributing to the achievement of the Barcelona Convention goals – i.e. the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment and coastal region as a contribution to the sustainable development of the region.Under his leadership Montenegro has been one of the most active Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, showing the way with its firm commitment to the process of ratification and implementation of the ICZM Protocol.
A famous Catalan skipper from Barcelona, Mr. Didac Costa is a professional fireman. Working out of the Cerdanola fire station, in the suburbs of Barcelona, he explains that his job has some similarities with sailing: “You have to know how to work as part of a team, you don’t get much sleep...and you have to remain calm, whatever happens.”
Apart from being a very successful sailor, Mr. Costa is famous for his interest and active involvement in environmental protection. This year he was elected “Ambassador for the Coast” and will promote this activity and advocate the importance of the coasts and their protection, among others, during the Vendée Globe sailing race that he will take part in. His aim for the Vendée Globe is to achieve what he has done before sailing double-handed, but this time sailing solo. He wants to complete the round the world voyage via the three capes by himself. Good luck, Didac! Link
On September 25, at the end of the plenary session of the Regional celebration of the 2015 Mediterranean Coast Day in Antibes, France, children from Antibes got on the stage to present their project "I love my sea", that they had developed all along this year, and delivered their Declaration in favour of the conservation of the coasts of Europe and the Mediterranean. The main message is that those who will inherit the coast will be our “Ambassadors for the coast”.
During the Mediterranean Coast Day 2014 celebrated on September 25 at Gammarth, Tunisia, Mr. Anil Markandya, Scientific Director of the Basque Institute for Climate, received from H.E. Mr. Mounir Majdoub, the Tunisian Secretary of State for Sustainable Development, and Ms. Željka Škaričić, PAP/RAC Director, the certificate of Ambassador for the Coast 2014.
Recognising his personal contribution to the understanding of the climate change and its impacts on the future of our Planet, as well as his commitment to transferring experience and knowledge, Mr. Markandya was eminently qualified to invite policy-makers of all the countries to collaborate on raising awareness on the consequences of the climate change to the coasts and on the importance of our actions in that regard, including taking steps to solve causes and consequences of the climate change.
Mr. Jérôme Bignon, member of the French Parliament and politician active in the field of coastal management, accepted PAP/RAC invitation to be the "Ambassador for the Coast". Mr. Bignon is a Vice-President of the Commission on Sustainable Development and Planning of the National Assembly, as well as a president of the Coastal Conservatory.
In addition, he is also active in his role of the president of the club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World. By accepting this nomination, Mr. Bignon will help MAP and PAP/RAC in their endeavours to achieve sustainable development of the coast through encouraging co-operation, dialogue, tolerance and trust among all Mediterranean countries.
The appointment of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Foundation Mohammed VI for the Protection of Environment, to the position of the “Ambassador for the Coast” comes as a recognition of high-minded actions and intensive work undertaken by HRH Princess Lalla Hasna and by Morocco towards the protection of the environment and the improvement of life conditions of the populations.
Thanks to the commitment of the Princess and to the activities of the Foundation Mohammed VI, seven Moroccan beaches have been awarded trophies on the occasion of the “Clean Beaches 2007” prizes awarding ceremony. In this way, numerous successful efforts the Foundation has made in the field of beach management, respect of the environment and environmental education have been recognised. With her Royal Highness in her role of the “Ambassador for the coast”, and the Foundation Mohammed VI, our voice will be heard better.
Mr. Mostafa Kemal Tolba was appointed Ambassador for the Coast in 2008. In addition to being one of the founders of the Regional Seas Programme and the Mediterranean Action Plan, he was also among the key persons that succeed to bring environment on the policy agenda of the policy makers worldwide. Today, the idea of international environmental action is commonplace. Only 40 years ago this was not the case. Mr. Tolba led the Egypt’s delegation at the historical UN Stockholm Conference in 1972 at which the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was launched.
He joined UNEP as Deputy Executive Director in 1973 and became Executive Director in 1975. He led UNEP at this position for the following 17 years. He played a key role in adopting the Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention. He was credited with leadership at the Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. With his scientific background, developing country origin and lifelong experience in global policy, Mr. Tolba profoundly understood and advocated the idea of development without destruction. He played a key role in developing the global environmental system and its agenda as they are today.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tolba passed away in 2016. His contribution to the foundation of the global environmental action through his committed lifelong service to people and the planet resulted with the valuable legacy.
Prof. Predrag Matvejevic, Ambassador for the Coast, is the author of the famous "Mediterranean Breviary", a book of lyric essays translated into more than 20 languages. For this masterpiece he was proposed by a group of more than 60 Italian artists, led by Umberto Ecco, for a Nobel prize for Literature in 2016. In this book, he reveals to the reader the magical Mediterranean - the Mediterranean we want to preserve.
The "Mediterranean breviary" recalls how our supposed differences could be transformed into reasons for coexistence, enrichment and sharing. He invented a theory of “geopoetics”, foreshadowing that it is about places and spaces that sediment the history and sentiments of many nations and radiate poetry; it is not the poets that create poetry, they only absorb it and “transform” it into verses, putting it at disposal of others. As Croatian poet Jure Kaštelan said, he was opening the windows to the sun...
Prof. Matvejevic was also a member of the European Advisory Commission of "wise men" for the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, Mr. Matvejević passed away in 2017. In these tough times for the Mediterranean, we already miss his wisdom and humanity.
Read the excerpts from the "Mediterranean Breviary": here
Mr. Chérif Rahmani, the Algerian Minister of Land-use Planning, Environment and Tourism, United Nations Ambassador for 2006 - International Year of Deserts and Desertification, Champion of the Earth for 2007 and President of the Foundation 'Déserts du monde' accepted to be the "Ambassador for the Coast" in a MAP initiative to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable coastal zone management.
By accepting this nomination, Minister Rahmani will help PAP/RAC to promote this aim given his efforts in the field of integrated coastal zone management, such as promulgation of the Algerian coastal law, creation of the national coastal commission, launching of the coastal cadastre, formulation of regional programmes for coastal valorisation and protection, delimitation, etc. Sharing his rich experience with other countries in the Mediterranean region, he will only encourage them to follow the Algerian example in the domain of integrated coastal zone management.
Mr. Renato Soru, Ambassador for the Coast, is the President of Sardinia Region and a policy maker who enabled one of the most courageous initiatives to secure sustainable coastal development in the Mediterranean. Creation of the Sardinia landscape plan, establishment of the Coastal Conservatory and introduction of new taxes related to the use of the coastal space were only a few of examples of Mr. Soru’s engagement in the development and protection of the coast.
Mr. Soru used to be a businessman, owner of internet provider Tiscali who left his business career in order to try to save his island Sardinia for the sake of future generations. Commenting his appointment for the Ambassador for the Coast Mr. Soru said: All countries having access to the sea should seriously consider the future of their coasts. It is easy to issue construction permits, but difficult to restore what has been destroyed. We should be aware of the fact that coast and the sea are gifts of nature. Many wars have been fought for the access to the sea, and now, we are fighting to preserve the natural beauties.