Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 13-year long tradition of live Coast Day celebrations had to be interrupted. That, however, does not mean that nothing has been done to mark this important date. Instead of a live event in Malta, as had originally been planned, the 2020 Mediterranean Coast Day went virtual. In cooperation with the MAP Coordinating Unit and INFO/RAC we have prepared a special web site dedicated to this year’s Coast Day. It was slightly less formal, with contents for all social and age groups. The page is available at the following link: www.info-rac.org/coastday
Apart from this regional “event”, some countries organised activities to mark the Coast Day at the local level.
Under the motto “Feel natural, think blue” in Durres, Albania, an awareness-raising event was organised in the framework of the GEF Adriatic Project by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the National Agency of Protected Areas of Albania. It was followed by a workshop/panel discussion, organized in the Port of Durres, with the theme: "Marine resources, the energy of Blue Tourism". The event took place on the occasion of three international days: Coast Day, Environmental Health Day and International Tourism Day. These three days, celebrated one after the other, were to remind us that we must further develop important maritime activities but without damaging marine life and its habitats.
Minister of Environment and Tourism in Dürres, Albania, at the occasion of Coast Day
At the Tipasa wilaya, Algeria celebrated on 24 September two important dates, the World Maritime Day and the Mediterranean Coast Day when numerous activities were organised. Among others, the association "Ecologica" from Skikda organised a beach cleaning event during which volunteers collected as much as 23 waste bags.
Beach cleaning at Skikda, Algeria
In Croatia, the Coast Day 2020 was marked through a literary and art works of elementary-school children. On the very Coast Day, September 25, an on-line workshop, moderated by a professor of philosophy, the children started jointly creating a story about the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis), which is severely attacked by parasites throughout the Mediterranean. The on-line workshop will be continued until the story is completed. Apart from the common story, the children were invited to submit their stories and illustrations for a competition. The winning stories and illustration will be published in a book, which will be among the prizes for the winners. The children are invited to use, as main characters, the noble pen shell, loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and shark. These three sea dwellers have been chosen as representatives of threatened, rare and unjustly unloved species. The prizes to the winners will be given during a ceremony at the Split-Dalmatia County building on the occasion of the UN World Children’s Day, 20 November, a day when we mark the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, among which is the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.
Virtual workshop of Mala Filozofija in Croatia
In Cyprus, AKTI Project and Research Centre, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, in collaboration with the Department of Environment celebrated the Coast Day 2020 on 25 September through the action #potavristou. #potavristou”, literally means “reach out” in the Cypriot dialect, but also has the meaning of “giving a helping hand”. AKTI, through its social media and with the support of several public media (TV & radio), asked individuals to simply “reach out”, anywhere they were during the entire month of September, collect the litter lying around them, take a photo, tell AKTI their location and the number of litter they have collected and post it on social media using the hashtags #potavristou and #akti, or send it through the messenger of AKTI. This is the second year of AKTI’s action #potavristou! During 2019, #potavristou was run only one day, the 21st of September, and over 500 people posted pictures and data on collected appr 5.5 tonnes of litter all around the coastline of Cyprus. It was a great achievement for Cyprus, which has received international recognition by Ocean Conservancy. This is the first campaign that targeted the self-responsibility of Cypriots as citizens, without organized groups or beach clean-up events on specific beaches. It is obvious that there is a definite need for more concerted actions, awareness, and stronger advocacy work. This year, #potavristou ran the entire month of September and through this action AKTI devoted the 25th of September to Coast Day 2020! With #potavristou, AKTI aims to strengthen its outreach for enhancing citizen engagement and its capacity to offer broader advocacy to a larger spectrum of citizens groups through (1) empowering/encouraging citizens to act against marine litter, (2) gathering important-forresearch citizen-science data that are scarce in Cyprus, (3) liaising with key stakeholders to identify effective measures to stop the flow of litter to the marine environment. Please visit the sitehttp://www.akti.org.cy/?s=coast+day+ for more information.
Publicity for the action organized on the occasion of Coast Day in Cyprus
Besides, a meeting was organised between Dr. Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Ms Ioanna Konstantinidou, official of the Department of Environment, and Dr. Xenia Loizidou, the Ambassador for the Coast 2019 and President of the AKTI. The three had a long and fruitful discussion. The Minister was briefed on the actions that had been implemented to celebrate the Coast Day 2020, with the emphasis on the central action #potavristou organized specifically on 25 September. Minister Kadis, in his statement for the Coast Day 2020 said that “Each of us and all together, we can contribute to the mitigation of marine litter problem if we make changes in our lifestyle. Less consumption of single-use plastic products and improvement in their management when they become a waste, can have significant impact on the improvement of marine environment. A healthy marine environment is both a right of all of us and a responsibility to the generations to come”.
Meeting in between Mr Costas Kadis, Ms Ioanna Konstantinidou and Ms. Xenia Loizidou in Cyprus
In France, it was the EU4OCEAN COALITION that marked this year’s Coast Day paving the way for collective Ocean Literacy initiatives in the Mediterranean Sea. To address marine challenges in the Mediterranean Sea and improve the health of its marine ecosystems, changes in individual and collective practices and actions are required from all activities and professionals connected directly or indirectly to the sea. Initiatives for raising awareness on human-sea interactions and for supporting changes in practices are already carried out by different organisations in the Mediterranean Sea region. However, more collective efforts at all scales and for all involved, including land-based sectors, citizens and decision makers, are required to strengthen ocean literacy and make it more cost-effective. This will help internalising the protection of marine ecosystems into current and future decision and practices. The aim of this action-oriented workshop was to co-develop collective ocean literacy actions and projects that are seen as priority for the Mediterranean Sea basin. Specific attention was paid to opportunities for partnerships between EU and non-EU organisations and partners. Organised under the umbrella of the EU4Ocean coalition, the online workshop contributed to the Mediterranean Coast Day celebrated annually on 25 September and that aims at increasing environmental awareness to safeguard the Mediterranean coasts and sea among policy makers, academia, media, NGOs and the local populations. Workshop co-organisers included: ACTeon (France, on behalf of the consortium supporting the European Commission/DG MARE EU4Ocean coalition), the secretariat of the United Nations Mediterranean Action Plan, PAP/RAC, Plan Bleu, the Mediterranean branch of the European Marine Science Educator Association (EMSEA) and the BlueMed initiative.
In Italy, this year MEDSEA (Mediterranean Sea and Coast Foundation), located in Cagliari, Sardinia, celebrated Coast Day with a virtual choral message for future generations. On Thursday, 24 September at 10.30 a.m. at the Environment Regional Department in Cagliari a press conference was organised for the presentation of the Maristanis Coastal Wetlands Contract in the presence of Mr. Gianni Lampis, regional councillor for the environment, and the mayors of the municipalities involved in the Maristanis project. They intend to sign the Coastal Wetlands Contract at the end of November. Please, find more information at the following link:
The event had wide media coverage, as can be seen at the following link.
From 9 am on 25 September until midnight on 29 September people could share photos or videos of their most special moments on the coasts of Sardinia on Instagram feed and / or Twitter. If they wanted, they could add a message dedicated to the sea and its protection. Photos and videos were shared with the hashtag #CoastDayInSardinia, tagging @Medsea_f on Twitter or @medsea_foundation on Instagram. There were no limits to the number of posts, the characters, or imagination. A jury of sea and nature specialists chose the most effective and interesting contribution from the point of view of communication, and the author received a gopro hero7 silver 10mp ultra hd 4k camera for free. His contribution will be re-launched on the social channels and in MEDSEA communication. The Contest page with the rules and the minutes with the results can be found at the following link:
http://www.medseafoundation.org/index.php/en/coast-day-en while at the following link, you can find the Winners of the contest and their pictures:
In addition, 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. there was a live broadcast on ZOOM. The subject was “The beauties, threats, risks and unforeseen events” discussed by sea experts and friends of the MEDSEA Foundation. One of them, a coasts expert, Mr. Giancarlo Gusmaroli, who had just completed the circumnavigation of the island by kayak, informed about the state of health of the coasts of Sardinia. The recording of that broadcast is available at the following link: https://youtu.be/_j1lA0T8rnY . Please, note that the film is in Italian only.
The complete programme of the event is available in Italian (link in Italian) and in English ( http://www.medseafoundation.org/index.php/en/coast-day-en)
In Malta, a video has been produced by the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning as part of a campaign on environmental measures for the sea. The video has been uploaded on the main page of the Ministry’s Planning Authority website: https://www.pa.org.mt/ and the direct link to it is the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtSJL5tTMxA&feature=emb_title
Since the video is mostly in Maltese, here is a brief resume:
The video is split into 4 parts:
An introduction to what the coast is: Ms Michelle Borg, Planning Authority (also PAP/RAC National Focal Point), makes a brief intervention in laypersons’ terms to highlight the fact that the coast supports our daily lives since it connects us with other countries, serves for electricity supply, maritime trade and also provides Malta with most of the drinking water through desalination. In addition to it being the frontier between two different environments, it is a fertile space for marine life and it defines Malta with its island identity which also shaped its history.
The users part: A fisher recalling the fact that, throughout her life, the sea was a safe place, a healthy environment that provided food, but in today’s world if we are not responsible in our actions it is easy to damage and harm this fragile place .
The perspective of good practice in tourism: this part is in English.
The Minister’s intervention when asked what is the future for the coast, Dr Aaron Farrugia, the Minister, reminds the viewers that there are a lot of impacts on the coast from tourism and infrastructure related uses. On the Coast Day it is important to remember that we need to continue working together to safeguard the coast to ensure that we leave behind a better coastal environment for future generations than the one we have inherited.
In Montenegro they had plans to organise a coast week, but had to cancl it. Instead, within the GEF Adriatic project, the Public Enterprise “Morsko dobro”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and the Institute for Marine Biology of Kotor, prepared a promotional/educational poster on coral communities (link na poster). A particular attention was paid to the gold coral (Gerardia savaglia), a species protected by international and national regulations, the largest populations of which have been noted at 2 locations within the Boka Kotorska bay in Montenegro. The posters were distributed to relevant institutions, as well as elementary and secondary schools throughout Montenegro. A lecture on corals with special accent on the protection of the habitat of the gold coral colonies in the Boka Kotorska bay was planned for the 25 September, but had to be cancelled for health and safety reasons.
In Morocco, the AGIR (Association for Integrated Resource Management) celebrated the Mediterranean Coast Day 2020 over several days, in collaboration with PAP/RAC and the Faculty of Science and Technology Al Hoceima. On 25 September AGIR organised a webinar for the youth from the Association of the Friends of the Sea of Al Hoceima, on threats facing the coast and the types of solutions and responses proposed for the youth to cure and mitigate those impacts. Later the same day, together with former graduate students of Coastal Sciences of the Faculty of Science and Technology Al Hoceima, AGIR organised another webinar, on the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the marine area of the Al Hoceima National Park, together with the management of the Al Hoceima National Park. On 27 September, live awareness raising was organised via AGIR’s Facebook through a boat trip to the marine part of the Al Hoceima National Park, together with the management of the Al Hoceima National Park.
AGIR organised a boat trip to the marine part of Al Hoceima national park in Morocco
Slovenia, traditionally, organised a coast week, this time entitled Mediterranean Coast and Macro-Regional Strategies Week, between 14 and 25 September. There was a large number of meetings, workshops and seminars the full programme of which is available at the following link: http://www.info-rac.org/coastday/events/CD2020_Slovenia-Programme.pdf