Mediterranean Countries Face Similar Challenges in Implementing ICZM Policies

The Mare Nostrum Project has published a detailed report identifying the major impediments to integrated coastal zone management across the Mediterranean Sea

May 18, 2015, 05:00 ET from Mare Nostrum

HAIFA, Israel, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

The EU-funded Mare Nostrum Project has identified the major impediments inhibiting Integrated Coast Zone Management (ICZM) implementation in countries across the Mediterranean Sea.

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The major challenges are outlined in case studies primarily from Spain, Malta, Greece and Israel included in the Mare Nostrum second report, entitled Existing Practices and Impediments to Implementation: The Local and Cross-National Level. The 467-page document represents an important step for Mare Nostrum towards formulating strategies for improvement.

The main barriers include lack of cooperation among different government bodies, insufficient translation of regulations on paper into action, clientelism, a lack of political will to carry out reforms to update and enforce environmental legislation.

In addition, a tendency to forgive developers for illegal construction and grant it legitimacy once it's built, problems in clearly defining the public domain coastal setback, and loopholes and vagueness undermining existing legislation have all been identified as the main impediments.  

"The gaps to implementation go to the heart of what Mare Nostrum aims to achieve," said Mare Nostrum project initiator and coordinator Prof. Rachelle Alterman from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. "Mare Nostrum aims to clearly point to the  gaps and suggest tools to overcome them. This report lays some of the foundation for this work."

"The second step is to identify a baseline between the case studies is through recognizing the impediments to implementation of the previous local legal or institutional tools," noted Dr. Konstantinos Lalenis, Associate Professor at the University of Thessaly, who edited the report with Ioannis Papatheocharis.

While every country has its own history and policy milestones, commonalities clearly emerged in the challenges they have faced. Setting the public domain setback on the coast, for instance, often faces technical difficulties and resistance from those holding property or construction rights within the affected areas.

About Mare Nostrum 

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).

The project uniquely focuses on understanding the "implementation gap" between the ideals of the Barcelona Convention and realities on the ground. The outcomes of the project will include recommendations for legal and institutional tools which may be adopted to improve local practices from the local level, taking a "bottom-up" approach.

Mare Nostrum is one of the 95 projects funded by 2007-2013 ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. The project is of three years' duration and has a total budget of €4,319,592, 90% of which is financed by the programme.

For further information and to download the full report, visit

Statement about the Programme  

The 2007-2013 ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme is a multilateral cross-border cooperation initiative funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The programme's objective is to promote the sustainable and harmonious cooperation process at the Mediterranean Basin level by dealing with the common challenges and enhancing its endogenous potential. It finances cooperation projects as a contribution to the economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the Mediterranean region. The 14 countries participating in the programme are Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Syria (participation currently suspended) and Tunisia. The Joint Managing Authority (JMA) is the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italy). Official programme languages are Arabic, English and French (

Dan Gerstenfeld
Communication and Dissemination Manager
Mare Nostrum Project
Mobile: +972-52-3745989

SOURCE Mare Nostrum