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Mediterranean Cooperation for On-Shore Accessibility and Sustainability Themes: Network for managing urban coastal areas (MedCOAST.Net)
Start date: Apr 30, 2007, End date: Jul 30, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The MedCOAST.Net Project aims to the implementation of collective policies of urban coastal area management, with emphasis on access for all, sustainable development and environmental management, as well as safeguard of the natural and cultural resources or urban coastal areas, support of their comparative advantages, improvement of knowledge, raise of awareness, rejuvenation of declining urban coastal areas and the establishment of an extended and permanent network of authorities and agencies for sustainable urban coastal zone management. The above objectives will be accomplished through actions of establishing a common policy framework, training and awareness raising, application of EMAS system, on the ground pilot actions of access provision improvements, signing, information facilities, to be followed by evaluation, transferability of the methods used and dissemination of the results. Coastlines and cities by coastlines nowadays are drawing in more people than ever before, having the highest rates of growth than any other areas. Urban coasts and its habitats have been ruined by a host of poorly planned and badly regulated activities, from the explosive growth of coastal cities and towns to the increase in tourism, the industrialisation, the development of ports, etc. Coastal ecosystems, which are amongst the richest storehouses of marine biodiversity, are threatened by development related activities. More particularly, 34% of the world's coasts are at high potential risk of degradation, and another 17% are at moderate risk. For coastline cities the main issues tend to be the management of water, infrastructure, protection against flooding, ensuring valuable beaches and waterfront properties, waterfront and shoreline regeneration and preventing encroachment onto critically important natural habitats. Hence, urbanisation should be planned and new development in busy coastal areas should not continue unimpeded. Furthermore, the direction of expansion, types of development that occur and effects expansion has on the environment should be monitored. The main issue addressed by this project is the Integrated Urban Coastal Area Management, which is a process that unites government and the community, science and management, sectoral and public interests in preparing and implementing an integrated plan for the protection and development of coastal ecosystems and resources. The projects main objective is the sustainable development of urban coastal areas and the sub-objectives are: • To implement collective and integrated policies of urban coastal area management, with emphasis on access for all • To support comparative advantages and utilise the available resources of target urban coastal zones. • To safeguard the natural and cultural resources of urban coastal areas. • To improve the knowledge and increase awareness of the public services and stakeholders involved in the management of coastal areas. • To rehabilitate declining urban coastal areas. • To establish a permanent network of authorities and agencies for sustainable urban coastal area management. • These objectives will be achieved through actions like the following: • The development of a common approach and policy framework. • The implementation of pilot actions in each partner area. • Training and awareness raising actions. • Pilot actions of EMAS (Eco Management and Audit System) application. • Evaluation of the actions and transfer of the methods and techniques. • Dissemination of the project results, publicity actions and legacy • The projects results are expected to be: • The establishment of an appropriate policy framework for coastal urban areas, determined by the coastal area's geographical size and physical and socio-economic conditions. • The enhancement of the interdisciplinary research on common management problems and the development of standardized environmental quality and socio-economic monitoring objectives. • The regeneration of declining urban coastal areas in each partner region. • The establishment of an integrated and prototype system of EMAS application for urban coastal areas. • The establishment and continuation of an extended and permanent network of urban coastal areas for sustainable management and access. • The partnership involves local authorities (Municipalities) of the four countries (GR, CY, It, Malta), who will undertake the support of the local actions in each partner area, as well as research institutes and universities in each of the four participating countries, that will undertake the policy framework development, EMAS application and planning for the local pilot actions. The final beneficiaries of the project will be the local habitants of the partner places, the local authorities and institutes, gaining from the experience and the implementation of the local activities that will have a positive impact on the environment and the socio-economic situation of the areas. Furthermore, the project will have a positive impact on other local authorities, agencies and institutes, through the transfer of the projects techniques and the establishment of the permanent network.
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