The European Union has awarded a multinational Mediterranean preservation
project – led by a Technion professor – a grant of 4.3 million euros to develop
mechanisms for protecting the basin’s coastline.
The three-year project,
called Mare Nostrum, is receiving funding as part of the European Neighborhood
and Partnership Instrument’s Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean
Aiming to bridge the legalinstitutional gap in the
implementation of Mediterranean policies on “integrated coastal zone management”
(ICZM), Mare Nostrum has 11 partners from Israel, Jordan, Malta, Greece and
Spain as well as advisers from Turkey, Germany and Italy.
participants are in Haifa for a launch conference, which began with an Israeli
coastline tour on Sunday.
“The Mediterranean Sea has for millennia served
the people living on its shores as a precious common resource,” said Prof.
Rachelle Alterman, initiator and coordinator of Mare Nostrum and an urban
planning and law professor at Haifa’s Technion- Israel Institute of
“The project’s primary goal is to contribute to bridging the
policy-implementation gap between the ideals of ICZM and its actual effects on
the ground at the local, national and cross-border levels.”
participants have identified lack of institutional coordination, insufficient
legal mechanisms and existing property rights as the impediments toward
implementing a more cohesive cross-border plan for preserving the Mediterranean
Sea, a statement from the program explained.
Not only can the project help to
protect the sea through legal and institutional instruments, but it can also
lead to improved dialogue and cooperation across national lines, the statement
said. This way, socioeconomics and environmental sustainability can improve all
along the Mediterranean perimeter, with the coastline itself becoming more and
more resilient to natural and manmade hazards, the project stressed.
major aim is to get the partners on the same page for this extensive project,”
Alterman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night.
Rather than work
government- to-government, the project is to operate through the cooperation of
academic, municipal and NGO partners, she explained.
“This entire package
is supposed to work together to produce more implementable regulations and
solutions to help protect the Mediterranean Sea,” said Alterman, who is an
expert on land regulation.
While there are international protocols and
conventions in place regarding the Mediterranean Sea, they do not function well
on the ground, independently, she said. In the framework of the project,
Alterman is therefore employing a strategy different from the typical topdown
policy fulfillment routine.
Instead, she said that project participants
will examine instruments on the ground and then incrementally begin to share
these instruments and ideas – creating laws and regulations that will be
integrated “one notch at a time from the bottom- up.”
that she also hopes to engage North African countries toward the latter portion
of the threeyear project.
“We want to have a cultural and language bridge
to North African stakeholders through our excellent Jordanian partner – the
Amman Center of Peace Development,” she said.
Sunday’s tour of the
Israeli coast was the very beginning of the Mare Nostra participants’ work
together on managing the conflict between development and conservation of this
“Israel is just one of the partners,” Alterman
“But as a starter, I wanted them to get a taste of our own
regulations. This is just an appetizer.”