In order to demonstrate the ICZM approach, two coastal management plans were developed within the MedPartnership project: the Integrated Resource Management Plan for Buna/Bojana Area (Albania/Montenegro) and the Coastal Plan for Reghaïa (Algeria), together with the Coastal Plan for the Šibenik-Knin County, Croatia, developed within the MedPartnership sister project ClimVar & ICZM. As the national strategies, plans were also developed based on the Article 18 of the ICZM Protocol, and through the participatory approach. These plans were aiming to capture the most relevant issues for the sustainable coastal development of the relevant coastal zone and providing innovative solutions by being forward-looking, proactive, comprehensive, and finally, truly integrated.
The Bojana/Buna area is a single natural system extending into Albania and Montenegro with transboundary issues and problems. The Buna/Bojana River, its catchment, the underlying aquifers and coastal waters provide the common physical threads linking the two countries.
The Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) for Buna/Bojana was developed by PAP/RAC, GWP-Med and UNESCO IHP, to assist Albania and Montenegro to sustainably manage the natural and anthropogenic environment in the Buna/Bojana basin and coastal area. It was developed over a 5-year timeframe and completed in 2015.
The plan considers upstream impacts from the agriculture, tourism and urbanization on coastal and water resources, and marine impacts on the river delta and coastal aquifers. This multi-sectoral approach resulted with the measures for strengthening co-operation for restoration and safeguarding of the Area’s ecosystems, increasing resilience to climate change as well as supporting creation of jobs and social welfare.
The central measures relate to establishment of a transboundary governance mechanism to ensure that relevant issues of transboundary importance are considered and acted upon bilaterally. Furthermore, the project resulted in drafting and initiating official consultations between two countries on Framework Agreement for the Sustainable Management of Skadar/Shkodra Lake Basin and Buna/Bojana Area. This is one of the few international examples of legal agreement for integrated approach in management of river basins, coastal and marine areas thus demonstrating the new water management paradigm - “source to sea” - on a transboundary level.
Instead of preparing separate Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) plans, a joint IRMP should be considered in the future for other areas in the Mediterranean, requiring management in the “ridge to reef” continuum, following the example of Buna/Bojana.
Following the Article 18 of the ICZM Protocol, the coastal plan for Reghaïa specifies the orientations of the national strategy, and enables its implementation at the local level. The fact the Plan was developed in parallel to the Strategy helped complying with this requirement.
The area of the Plan, which covers the municipalities of Reghaïa and Herraoua together with their marine part encompassing a future protected area, was chosen as a pilot area because most of the problems encountered on the Mediterranean coast have been concentrated there: it has a wetland of international importance (Ramsar); one of the largest industrial areas in the region of Algiers; a fertile agricultural plain; and a tourism development zone stretching up to the dunes along the sea.
The major problems encountered in the area are illegal and precarious urbanization; domestic and industrial discharges; siltation and pollution of the lake; water pumping for irrigation; sand mining; and degradation of the sandy beach. Therefore, a cross-sectoral approach is highly required for an integrated management of this area. A particular emphasis was put on participation, with the use of the “Imagine” methodology which allowed stakeholders to agree on the vision for the area, to define sustainability in concrete domains, and to decide in which direction the zone should go in the future, and how to reach desired outcomes.
In September 2015, the Plan was officially adopted by the Intersectoral Committee established in the framework of this activity.
Building coastal resilience is becoming a goal for the Mediterranean, where coasts have always been attractive for living and leisure. One such example is the coast of the Šibenik-Knin County, where challenge of coastal urbanization results in pressures on space, water resources, landscape values and sustainable development in general. Above all, climate variability and change (CVC) are expected to have profound impacts on coastal urbanization, economy and natural resources of the County. In order to tackle those issues, a Coastal Plan for the Šibenik-Knin County was developed according to Article 18 of the Mediterranean ICZM Protocol, which requests for making of coastal plans.
The Plan's participatory nature was reflected in parallel “Climagine” workshops where local stakeholders discussed and agreed on a vision of County's future coast. The impact of the Plan on public awareness is evident - an interest for the Plan was shown by stakeholders around the Mediterranean when presented at many national and international conferences and workshops. The need for a systematic approach to increase coastal resilience is now recognised by many coastal regions and this Plan presents an example to follow.
The Plan was completed in September 2015 and is ready for adoption. It will feed into local spatial plans, a regional development strategy and other sectoral policy documents. The Plan offers a number of recommendations, but also opens a number of questions, especially with climate change opening new levels of uncertainty.