Mediterranean Coast Day 2019: celebrating nature-based solutions that tackle climate change in the region

The Mediterranean coast is exposed to severe threats from climate change: it’s one of the biggest crises humanity has ever faced. Sea level rise, warming waters and changing storm patterns are already having serious impacts on the lives of more than a third of the region’s population – that’s some 180 million people.

Each year on 25 September, Mediterranean countries celebrate ‘Coast Day’: this celebrates the importance of coastal areas as natural, cultural and socio-economic resources that contribute to sustainable development.

With the Mediterranean sea level projected to rise by 1m by 2100, it has become more urgent than ever to address climate change issues in the region. Strong collaboration between policy makers is crucial for finding efficient and sustainable solutions for disaster risk reduction. Given the failure of previous actions based on traditional ‘hard’ infrastructure, other natural solutions must be considered ­– and nature has a lot to offer in this respect”, says Alessio Satta, MedWet Coordinator.

When protected and restored, coastal wetlands, including coral reefs, mangroves, oyster reefs and salt marshes, act as natural safeguards against climate impacts through the multiple services they provide: these include flood protection, wave attenuation, storm surge reduction, sediment capture and erosion reduction.

These are what we call nature-based solutions. They allow us to implement sustainable, robust and often more cost-efficient approaches than conventional man-made solutions alone. We urgently need to learn to work more with nature, not against it”, Satta concludes.

Coast Day events

This year, the regional celebration of Coast Day was held in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, on 25 September 2019. It was organised by PAP/RAC in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus and specifically the Department of Environment. Specific events were also organised in many areas in the region.

The Off Your Map campaign, supported by MAVA within the frame of our action plan on Mediterranean coastal wetlands, contributed to several Coast Day activities in Sardinia, Tunisia, Albania and Montenegro.

More information

Find more about Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in the publication: “Outsmart climate change: work with nature! Enhancing the Mediterranean’s climate resilience through Nature-based Solutions”

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