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CAMP "The Syrian Coastal Region"

The project area

The Syrian coastal region has 190 km of coastline, covers 2% of the national territory, accounts for 11% of the population, and contributes with 11% to the GNP. The region is composed of three markedly different areas: the coastal plain, abundant with water and fertile soil; the hilly zone with limited water resources and lower quality agricultural land; and the mountains. The area accounts for 35% of the national energy production, 38% of cement production, 50% of petroleum refining, the predominant part of the national export being shipped through the port of Lattakia. Due to abundance of freshwater and fertile soil, the area is distinguished by a rich and productive agriculture of the Mediterranean type, with 16% of cultivated land under irrigation.

Major problems and issues

The rapid urban and industrial development, and absence of pollution abatement and treatment facilities resulted in:

  • uncontrolled ribbon development along the shoreline;
  • sprawl of uncontrolled low-density housing development;
  • high pollution of the coastal and marine environment;
  • chemical pollution and bacteriological contamination of freshwater sources due to the uncontrolled disposal of untreated urban solid and liquid waste, waste from villages and farms, agricultural practices, industry and transports; and
  • destruction of wetlands and dunes (due to sand extraction).

Project activities

Fully aware of the ever groving problems of this area, MAP and Syrian authorities started in 1988 a pilot action on integrated management of the region. Upon request of the Syrian Government, an agreement relative to the implementation of a comprehensive Coastal Area Management Programme (CAMP) was signed in 1990. The following activities were implemented from 1988 until the closure of the CAMP in 1994:

  • initial studies;
  • data collection and rapid assessment;
  • a Preliminary Integrated Planning Study;
  • a detailed assessment and analysis;
  • definition of strategies;
  • monitoring;
  • prospective study;
  • study on impacts of climate change;
  • study on vulnerability of freshwater resources to pollution;
  • ground water pollution potential map and a surface water pollution protection map; and
  • an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Plan.

Major project results


  • Policy recommendations:
    protection of freshwater resources: establishment of inner and outer sanitary protection zones around waterworks, and protection and control across the catchment areas, the inner sanitary zones 50 m around, and the outer zones with 100 m radius; management and protection measures for sanitary zones, and surface water protection zones were defined, and activities to be excluded listed;
  • establishment of proper waste treatment practices and technologies;
  • integrated measures related to pollution abatement in industry and agriculture;
  • a number of immediate actions have been proposed related to: sand extraction from dunes, illegal construction, protection of the coastal strip and wetlands;
  • land use planning policies were formulated, and a detailed land-use and urban development scheme elaborated;
  • a high level interministerial committee for coastal management are proposed to be established to secure integration of development policies and decisions;
  • Freshwater Potection Plan; and
  • Integrated Coastal Resource Management Plan.


The immediate measures proposed were implemented by national and local authorities: those related to sanitary protection of water resources, protection of dunes and wetlands. The land use and urban development plans were accepted officially as elements of future development, and an interministerial committee was established. Structural measures regarding liquid and solid waste management are being implemented gradually, giving priority to large urban settlements.


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