Our new web site is available at: paprac.org

What is PAP/RAC?

Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), established in 1977, is a key component of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), itself part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Twenty one Mediterranean countries as well as the European Union make up the MAP, and their common objective is the creation of a healthier Mediterranean environment, resting on the principle of sustainable development. One of six Regional Activity Centres within the MAP, the Centre has built up a global reputation due to its expertise in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).

PAP/RAC is the people who work in the Centre, as well as the large network of Mediterranean experts and institutions. Based in Split with the support of the Government of Croatia, PAP/RAC has a core staff of just nine multidisciplinary experts who co-operate with international and national institutions, and with external experts. This could be considered as an asset, since by such recognisability, the work of the Centre is acknowledged everywhere, not only in the Mediterranean.

Organisational Chart of PAP/RAC

The mission

The Centre's aim is to address immediate problems of a developmental nature and their effects on the coastal environment and its resources, through practical activities in several fields. The intention is to induce swift results through the use of sound environmental management practices. Importantly, coastal zones comprise not only their marine and terrestrial parts but also their adjacent river basins.

The principal activity of PAP/RAC is Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the Mediterranean. ICZM is recognised as the way forward for the sustainable development of coastal zones since the 1992 Rio Conference (the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) and is characterised by a distinctive integrated approach to providing solutions to the complex environmental, social, economic and institutional problems of the coastal zones.

The Centre's original mandate was broad in scope but, in the light of the growing environmental challenges, the focus of PAP/RAC's operations was subsequently repositioned to respond to the need for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean's coastal areas.

PAP/RAC delivered its mandate through both local actions within Mediterranean countries, through training and capacity building, and through the macro-scale development of methodologies and policy. In particular, PAP/RAC led the preparation and agreement of the ICZM Protocol that is now the major driving force for ICZM activity in the Mediterranean.

Under its current mandate, approved in 2009, PAP/RAC's mission is to provide assistance to Mediterranean countries in the implementation of Article 4(i) of the Barcelona Convention, meeting their obligations under the ICZM Protocol and implement the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), 2005, and by carrying out, in particular, the tasks assigned to it in Article 32 of the ICZM Protocol.

Above all, PAP/RAC is active in developing regional co-operation in the field of capacity building and awareness-raising on the importance of preserving coastal areas, mainly through the organisation of international training, education and awareness-raising activities, networking, publications (it publishes research, guidelines, technical reports and manuals) and the dissemination of information. PAP/RAC is also involved in supporting activities of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD).

Finally, PAP/RAC is the international champion for the Mediterranean on coastal issues, and a well-respected organisation globally in developing ICZM-related methodologies and tools.


MAP Institutional Structure


Main activities

PAP/RAC is recognised globally as a centre of excellence - a reputation built on more than 30 years of solid and innovative achievement in the field. The Mediterranean represents probably the most complex of coastal challenges in the world through both the intensity of development and the outstanding value of its natural and cultural heritage. To respond to this challenge PAP/RAC has developed a range of tools and methodologies in partnership with local and international institutions specifically tailored to the needs of the Region.

In the first twenty years of its existence from 1980, PAP/RAC established itself as an effective and efficient force as ICZM became a major tool in the implementation of sustainable development in the Mediterranean. At the local level PAP/RAC initiated the Coastal Area Management Programmes (CAMPs) in (listed chronologically, from the past to recent CAMPs) Albania, Croatia, Greece, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Lebanon, Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Morocco - delivering integrated sustainable development solutions in partnership with national authorities and local communities. Cultural heritage and protected areas have always been in the core of these projects.

Meanwhile PAP/RAC was developing pioneering sustainable development methodologies tailored to the specificities of the Mediterranean Basin. These range from the use of legal and economic instruments, to new forms of stakeholder participation. In particular, strong emphasis is put on the preservation of the Mediterranean's distinctive natural and cultural landscapes. A number of projects, publications and studies relating to the assessment and preservation and characterisation of valuable landscapes, hitherto a relatively neglected area of activity in the Region, were initiated and led by PAP/RAC. 

By the Millennium PAP/RAC had become an internationally recognised centre in the development of ICZM.  This is reflected in two landmark publications: the first, "For a Sound Coastal Management in the Mediterranean" presented the progress in coastal area management in the Mediterranean in the previous 25 years and showed how the approach had been transformed from a narrow sectoral environmental one to one that integrates all sectors.  This publication was presented at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002. The second, a "White Paper: Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean" outlined the need for a "proactive" policy option, a strategic vision for the Mediterranean, and an Action Plan for Coastal Zone Management; it demonstrated the growing confidence in the value of ICZM in the Mediterranean along with the pivotal role played by PAP/RAC. PAP/RAC was already recognised as being at the "cutting edge" of this field globally as reflected by the participation in international events such as the Johannesburg Summit and important policy initiatives such as the EU Demonstration Programme on ICZM from 1997-2001. 

Since 2001, despite limited human resources, PAP/RAC has maintained a prolific level of activity and innovation, and it has excelled in its support for capacity building in environmental management and sustainable development in the Region. In particular, PAP/RAC has been unstinting in its continued championing of ICZM as a key to the sustainable development in the face of shifting sectoral and institutional demands and influences. PAP/RAC is regularly represented as a high-level expert institution on the international stage, including for example the annual Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. The pioneering sustainable tourism "Destinations" Project in Algeria received the best national project "Energy Globe" award in 2008.

Local actions through the recognised CAMP Programme continue with new initiatives in Spain, Montenegro, France and Italy. Most notably however is the emergence and implementation of the "ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean". In 2003 the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention agreed that a new legally binding regional document was needed to ensure the protection of the Mediterranean coastal zones; PAP/RAC was entrusted with the process of drafting and reaching the agreement on this pioneering document. The Protocol, with its 40 carefully negotiated Articles, provides a comprehensive legal framework for future action, placing obligations on all states to carry out actions and develop policies within their borders and with their neighbours, and to co-operate internationally across different fields for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean coast. 

Despite the geographical and political complexity of the Mediterranean region, the Protocol was adopted in January 2008 and came into force in March 2011 - a record time for such an agreement - thus becoming the first supra-national legal document of its kind in the world. Based on this ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean, other regional seas across the world including the Western Indian Ocean, the Baltic and the Black Sea are now developing similar ICZM legal documents advised by PAP/RAC.

PAP/RAC underpins the development of ICZM through institutional strengthening, training and awareness-raising, and through conferences and courses. The distance learning MedOpen training programme for example - the only one of its kind - assists decision makers (at the local, national, regional and international level), policy advisors, project managers, staff and experts in building capacities for coastal management. Over 60 candidates have completed the senior level of course, contributing substantially to the Mediterranean region's ICZM capacity. Many others have used the basic on-line course from around the world. One of the further tools created by PAP/RAC to encourage and facilitate the Protocol ratification is Coast Day, launched in 2007. Coast Day is a unique event in the Mediterranean - promoting the value of the coast and calling for an active engagement by all sectors of society to preserve it. Most of the Mediterranean countries have joined in supporting this regional event. Activities range from activities for children, through sports contests and cultural events, to major international coastal events. Coast Day is celebrated annually on 25 September to honour the first national ratification of the Protocol by the Parliament of Slovenia on that date. Following the growing international enthusiasm for the celebration of the Coast Day, UNEP has now recognised 25 September as the Mediterranean Coast Day.

As a further part of the awareness-raising activities, international "Ambassadors for the Coast" have been nominated. Among these distinguished individuals, champions in promoting the environmental and coastal awareness are: Her Royal Highness the Princes Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco; Mr. Chérif Rahmani; the Algerian Minister of Land-use Planning, Environment and Tourism; Prof. Predrag Matvejeviæ; and others. PAP/RAC is now recognised as the "natural" lead for a wide range of activities and programmes in the Mediterranean supported by international agencies including UNEP, UNDP, WB and the EU. Through the MedPartnership, PAP/RAC is developing innovative integrated approaches to water and aquifer management with UNESCO and others.

Thanks to the active collaboration with the wide range of partners and stakeholders in the Region, and its "multi-level" approach, PAP/RAC has induced swift progress towards the creation of a healthier Mediterranean environment, preserving its natural and cultural heritage, resting on the principle of sustainable development.



PAP is situated in Split, Croatia, a magnificent roman city which is one of the UNESCO heritage sites. Our premises are located in a superb Renaissance palace, at the Perystil within the Dioklecian's Palace which dates back to the 3rd century A.D. Split is a Croatian gateway city with excellent connections with other Mediterranean countries.


Content of this site, unless otherwise noted, © 2005-2017 Priority Actions Programme All Rights Reserved. v2.0.15 powered by IT laganini . org