For the 10th consecutive year, the Mediterranean celebrated the Coast Day on 27 September this year in Barcelona under the theme ”A blue economy for a healthy Mediterranean”. It was co-organised by PAP/RAC, Plan Bleu and SCP/RAC, and co-sponsored by the MAVA foundation, an environmental philanthropic organization from Switzerland.
The celebration, opened by Ms. Zeljka Skaricic, PAP/RAC Director, was attended by representatives of Mediterranean States, UNEP/MAP and its components, Mediterranean national and international organisations, NGOs, as well as local society members. In the opening ceremony the participants were greeted by Mr. Jaume Barnada, Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, City of Barcelona, Ms. Marta Subirà, Secretary for Environment and Sustainability, Government of Catalonia, Ms. Ana García Fletcher, Associate Deputy Director for the Coastal Protection DG for the Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of Spain, and Special Representative Ambassador Mr. George Saliba, from the UfM Secretariat.
Mr. Gaetano Leone, UNEP/MAP Coordinator, sent a video message welcoming the participants to the celebration and reminded them that since 2007 the Coast Day had been a way for the entire MAP system to share the ideas about the coastal zone development and protection, but also about collaboration and friendship. Encouraging countries to help for the ratification of the ICZM Protocol adopted in 2008, Mr. Leone added that new tools continue to be developed, most recently the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development adopted by the contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention in February 2016, which encompasses the entire range of measures for the protection of the marine and coastal environment and for the sustainable development of this region, in line with the global goals and aspirations that the United Nations have agreed upon in their 2030 agenda for Sustainable development.
The first part of the day was dedicated to presentations and debate around the concept of Blue Economy in the Mediterranean, as well as discussion on good examples and best practices from leading businesses, NGOs and public agencies from all over the Mediterranean. It also included a dialogue with Spanish skipper Didac Costa, this year’s ambassador for the coast, who will take part in the Vendée Globe sailing race.
The second part of the day was aimed at a wider local audience and citizens. It attracted more than a hundred persons and featured three different corners: Action Corner, with a selection of local and international organizations active in the field of Blue Economy, such as NGOs, research centres, and businesses; Networking Corner, with different areas to gather participants around the key economy sectors (mobility, energy, tourism, fisheries, recycling; and Creative Corner, with a collaborative workshop where participants were able to draw, build and take back a personalised art piece.
Back-to-back with the Coast Day celebration the first regional consultation meeting was organised on 28-29 September in order to discuss the first draft of the ICZM Regional Framework and Marine Spatial Planning Conceptual Framework. Both documents are a part of the UNEP/MAP PoW for 2016-2017 and are envisaged for adoption by COP20. The meeting was attended by 56 participants, including MAP and PAP National Focal Points, a number of invited experts and the team preparing the two documents. The comments and suggestions received during discussions will be used for further elaboration of the documents.