Haifa, Israel, March 5, 2013 – The European Union (EU) has awarded the international Mare Nostrum consortium €4.3 million (90% funding) to explore new ways of preserving the Mediterranean Sea and its coastline.
The three-year project is aimed at bridging the legal-institutional gap in the implementation of existing policies on integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in the Mediterranean region.
Mare Nostrum, which is led by the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, will be funded as part of the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument – Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean (ENPI-CBCMED) program.
“The Mediterranean Sea has for millennia served the people living on its shores as a precious common resource,” said Prof. Rachelle Alterman, the founder and coordinator of Mare Nostrum. “Yet despite decades of efforts to protect it, a complex mosaic of legal and institutional regimes has prevented their full implementation.”
“The project’s primary goal is to contribute to bridging the gap between the ideals of coastal zone management and its actual effects on the ground at the local, national and cross-border levels,” she said.
Prof. Alterman, an internationally acclaimed expert on land-use planning and law, added that Mare Nostrum will pursue a strategy of identifying local impediments to implementation and leveraging insights gathered from local successes into improved policy-making across the region.
Through knowledge exchange, the project will also lead to improved dialogue and cooperation across national borders and the development and dissemination of new tools for realistic implementation of ICZM among Mediterranean Basin countries and beyond.
Mare Nostrum is comprised of 11 partner organizations from Malta, Greece, Israel, Jordan and Spain, including leading research institutes, city governments, environmental NGOs and port operators. In addition, experts from Germany, Turkey and Italy will advise the team.
Mare Nostrum will hold its opening conference at the Technion in Haifa, Israel on 3-6 March 2013.