The EU-funded Mare Nostrum Project, which aims to explore new ways of protecting and managing the Mediterranean coastline, called on governments to take immediate and coordinated action to fight cliff erosion.
Mare Nostrum partners met last week in Volos, Greece for a landmark workshop.
One of the most urgent issues to emerge from the meeting was the need for an affirmative and well-coordinated effort to protect cliffs from erosion and collapse.
Representatives of the local authorities of Alexandropoulos, Kavala, Haifa and Netanya all expressed the urgent need for government intervention to tackle the problem.
They emphasized that their cities need major investment for environmental engineering works, but that both national and regional governments are slow to respond.
According to participants, it takes years to draft and approve regulations and to receive national support and financing. Meanwhile, magnificent environmental assets are being eroded away, sometimes even endangering human life.
“Everyone talks about climate change and the importance of coastline preservation, but in the meantime the beautiful cliffs of the Mediterranean are endangered by government procrastination,” said Technion Prof. Rachelle Alterman, the initiator and coordinator of Mare Nostrum. “Fighting cliff erosion requires significant investments. We call on all governments in the region to recognize this shared problem and act quickly.”
“The risk of coastal erosion is shared by all Mediterranean countries,” Prof. Alterman added. “This issue pertains to the coastline, which should be viewed as national and international asset. Governments should act to meet their obligations as presented by the Integrated Coastline Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol to the Barcelona convention.”
Participants of the Mare Nostrum workshop came from universities, municipalities and NGOs in Greece, Spain, Malta, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
Press Release, August 2, 2013