20 December 2023
The Beginning of Sustained Transboundary Collaborations in the South Adriatic and Beyond
The final conference of the Transboundary CAMP Otranto project was held at the Maritim Hotel Plaza in Tirana on 13 December 2023 as a hybrid physical and online event. The theme was Transboundary Horizons: Boosting Coastal Sustainability in the South Adriatic.
Welcoming speeches were followed by panel discussions to give a wide range of opinions on the results of the project. Željka Škaričić the Director of PAP/RAC, who have played a key coordinating role throughout the project, stressed that this was the first transboundary CAMP and that new CAMPs will follow.
A panel on the project’s Feasibility Study heard from project experts like Tullio Scovazzi who explained that the Otranto Strait transboundary agreement could be pioneering. “It would strengthen the regional cooperation to protect the environment within the Barcelona Convention system.”
Tackling the subject, Klodiana Marika from the Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Albania reported the process of EEZ beyond the national jurisdiction was “…a starting point to protect biodiversity beyond national waters.”
Discussions included environmental challenges like tourism, flooding, rising sea levels, waste and appropriate measures needed. Expert Fiona Mali, who presented the Concept note on MSP in Albania, highlighted that one of the most challenging aspects is data, and that the project had made it clear how much this was needed before MSP can start.
Positive Response to ICZM SAS
Participants in the ICZM System and Audit Scheme (ICZM SAS) gave very positive feedback. The agritourism resort Tenuta Corallo highlighted the need for more opportunities to work with other stakeholders from the same sector to strive towards ICZM.
Lara Marchetta, Vice President of the Torre Guaceto MPA shared how a holistic vision can lead to outstanding results in the restoration of marine habitats, the protection of fish species, and the promotion of sustainable fishing practices. She said the scheme had given them: “…the opportunity to focus on how activity can contribute to the proper management of coastal areas.”
The impact of transboundary cooperation on the region
A round table discussion addressed how the experience of transboundary cooperation had contributed to the marine protected areas and the application of ICZM. Contributions from Rear Admiral Vincenzo Leone reported that the Puglia Coast Guard was planning to celebrate the Regional Day of the Coast on 10 April 2024 and hoped to make it a national awareness day. He stated:” We are in a historical moment, characterised by a clear acceleration of climate change. Today the issues of integrated and sustainable management of coastal areas are of absolute interest for our countries.”
Sofjan Jaupaj the Director General for Economic Affairs and Support Services at the Ministry of Tourism and Environment in Albania responded that: “It is important to have transboundary cooperation because we can learn from the other countries. We now have a good grounding for collecting data and creating projections to address our needs. I hope this collaboration will continue.”
Tatjana Hema the UNEP/MAP coordinator added how the entire MAP system contributes to CAMP projects with different experiences. She explained that: “Good collaboration at the national and intersectoral level is key to improving the quality of the marine environment for the people living in coastal areas – this is the most important value of the project. This success story can be replicated in other Mediterranean areas.”
Transboundary CAMP Otranto is a success story for the Mediterranean
Oliviero Montanaro the General Director for Natural Heritage and Sea of IMEES concluded that: “The methodology for this first “transboundary” CAMP can now be used in the implementation of other CAMP projects for effective and comprehensive integrated management of the coastal area throughout the Mediterranean.”
His sentiments were echoed by the local partner in Puglia region Vincenzo Moretti who explained how their involvement had created insights which have led to better proposals and planning. “For decades, there has been a cooperation between Puglia and Albania but now we can take this collaborative network further to make our territories even more united,” he said.
During the event, attendees were shown the animated project videos, infographics and communications materials highlighting the project tools and the importance of transboundary Integrated Coastal Zone Managementphoto exhibition Many Shores, One Sea by Natalino Russo was also displayed with a selection of images from the project photobook which tells the story related to the sea between Italy and Albania.
For more information contact Ms Tea Marasovic, Programme Officer at PAP/RAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.