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Does Israel Need to Worry About Its Coastline’s Future?

“Clearly, uncontrolled development is a serious problem across the entire Mediterranean Basin.”

Mare Nostrum Project

Is the Israeli coastline in trouble? That may be the case according to a report by Mare Nostrum, a nonprofit project affiliated with Israel’s Technion that explores new ways of protecting and managing the Mediterranean coastline.

Coastal development pressures are seen as the major threat to Mediterranean coastal zones, according to a survey conducted by the EU-funded Mare Nostrum Project among 43 environmental organizations in 11 countries.

Of the NGOs participating in the survey, 93 percent cited development pressures as the main risk to their own country’s coast. This was followed by overfishing (84%), tourism pressures (81%), increased litter (81%), chemical pollution (65%) and coastal erosion (63%).

“The groundbreaking survey wishes to identify what environmental organizations see as the major threats to Mediterranean coastal zones, ” said Mare Nostrum project initiator and coordinator Prof. Rachelle Alterman from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. “Clearly, uncontrolled development is a serious problem across the entire Mediterranean Basin.”

The survey, carried out by Mare Nostrum partner The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), is the first-ever organized effort to identify the main challenges and needs of civil society organizations with regard to the protection of the Mediterranean coast. Results were received from 43 organizations in Spain, France, Italy, Israel, Malta, Greece, Croatia, Albania, Cyprus, Slovenia and Monaco.

The survey was conducted as part of the Mare Nostrum Network Initiative, intended to serve as a support platform for civil society organizations involved in ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) and conservation throughout the Mediterranean coast.

“The results show that most organizations wish to join the Mare Nostrum Network and engage in collaborative actions, ” said Andrea Monge, Mare Nostrum Network coordinator at SPNI. “These organizations stressed the importance of going beyond information sharing and working on capacity building, particularly with regards to community involvement, communications and fundraising.”

Mare Nostrum wishes to form a network of active citizens, associations, NGOs and other civil society organizations committed to the protection of the Mediterranean coast.

Mare Nostrum’s objective is to explore new ways of protecting and managing the Mediterranean coastline within the existing international Barcelona Convention and its Protocol on Integrated Coastline Zone Management (ICZM). Mare Nostrum is one of the 95 projects funded by 2007-2013 ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program. The project is of three years’ duration and has a total budget of €4, 319, 592, 90% of which is financed by the program.

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