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Supporting the Coastal Zone Management and Marine Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

Integrated coastal zone management is perhaps especially challenging on densely populated shores shared by many nations. The PEGASO project was created to support common, integrated policies for the coastal, marine and maritime realms of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Basins. It held its final meeting last week in Antalya, Turkey, on 14-17 January 2014.

PEGASO, or “People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing Sustainable development of Ocean and Coast”, was a project of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Over the course of 4 years, the project aimed to develop innovative methods and approaches to implement the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol for the Mediterranean that was signed and ratified by the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention. PEGASO also aimed to explore the feasibility of developing a similar policy document for the Black Sea countries.

Partners of PEGASO and representatives of key institutions, including the United Nations Environment Programme - Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP-MAP), the Permanent Secretariat for the Black Sea Commission, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and networks from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea participated in the final meeting.

PEGASO was successful in bridging the gap between science and policy-making by providing easy-to-use tools for the final users, to help them make science-based decisions that promote the sustainable development of the coastal and marine areas of the two basins. The ICZM processes had recognized several research gaps for which a number of tools were needed.

From a methodological perspective, PEGASO’s most important achievement was perhaps demonstrating that the integration of certain tools can help to describe complex phenomena, despite having limited access to high-resolution data. Not only do these tools improve the understanding of marine and coastal processes, but they can also be applied to socio-economic dynamics, to interactions between terrestrial and marine processes, and –critically– to model future conditions in order to guide the most appropriate governance framework.

IOC-UNESCO was a key partner and led the development of a set of indicators linked to policy objectives that were tested in a number of case studies in both basins. The Commission also led the development of a methodology for integrated regional assessment of coastal and marine areas which can be used as a blueprint for assessments in other regions of the world.

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