On September 25 the city of Split, or more precisely the Museum of Fine Arts, hosted the central regional celebration of the Mediterranean Coast Day 2018 which was attended by 100-odd participants. Since this year PAP/RAC celebrates its 40th anniversary, that was the main topic of the event, although the leitmotif was the need to join forces in order to achieve sustainable development which has been recognised as the best way to preserve our coasts, which are beautiful and valuable but also fragile and threatened, for the generations to come. And it is only logical that it was so because the main objective of the Coast Day campaign is raising awareness of those issues.
The participants were greeted by Mr. Mario Šiljeg, State Secretary with the Croatian Ministry of Environment and Energy, Mr. Nino Vela, Deputy Mayor of Split, Ms. Monika MacDevette, Director a.i. of the Ecosystems Division, UN Environment, and Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of UN Environment/MAP – Barcelona Convention Secretariat. They all agreed that the Mediterranean is one of the most beautiful seas in the world, and the most valuable asset of the countries surrounding it, from both environmental and economic points of view. Unfortunately, it is seriously threatened and has faced great environmental problems, especially over the past several decades. MAP, with its centres, has invested great efforts to find solutions for the most pressing issues, and the results can be seen. The role of PAP/RAC was pointed out and the Centre received praise for the good work it has been doing for the past 40 years. As a major milestone, reached recently, in 2011, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol was pointed out which entered into force in the framework of the Barcelona Convention. Through this legally binding instrument, Mediterranean countries committed themselves to ensure the sustainable management and use of coastal zones. To date, 10 Mediterranean countries and the EU have ratified the ICZM Protocol.
Two panels were organised. The first one hosted Mr. Ivo Šimunović, former President of the City Council of Split, Mr. Jure Margeta, Professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy of the University of Split, Mr. Ivica Trumbić, former PAP/RAC Director, Mr. Marko Prem, PAP/RAC Deputy Director, and Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of UN Environment/MAP. The speakers illustrated the development of PAP/RAC from its humble beginnings to a respectable organisation that it is today. They spoke of the challenges encountered and the successes achieved. Over the past 40 years, PAP/RAC, “the Mediterranean Coastal Management Centre”, has been instrumental to protect the Mediterranean coast.
The second panel hosted H.E. Ms Corinne Meunier, Ambassador of France in Croatia, Mr. Predrag Jelušić, Director of the Public Enterprise “Morsko Dobro”, Montenegro, Ms Maria Snoussi, Professor at the University Mohammad V in Rabat, Morocco and formerly the CAMP Morocco Coordinator, Ms Iryna Makarenko of the Black Sea Commission, and Mr. Ivica Trumbić representing IOC/UNESCO. Some of the latest success stories were presented and future tasks and plans indicated. Some important messages were heard. One of the most powerful was sent by Ms. Zrinka Cvitešìć, a famous Croatian actress, who was designated as 'Ambassador for the Coast' for 2018:
"Unfortunately, along with all the wars that are going on, and that are terrible and stupid, there is one more in parallel: a war of man against nature". She also pointed out that it was very important to recall the meaning of the word "measure" and apply it as much as possible.
In the afternoon the participants visited the Strossmayer Park or Đardin as the locals call it, which was bustling with activities over the days preceding the Coast Day and on that very day. There were exhibitions, film projections, presentations, workshops were organised, quiz games, a cycling tour ... In the afternoon the sculpture “Walkers” by the famous Split sculptor Vasko Lipovac, appeared at Riva (waterfront promenade). In the evening a concert was organised at the Peristyle square in which the folklore groups “Jedinstvo” and “Filip Dević” took part, as well as the “Papandopulo” saxophone quartet. The finishing touch for the day full of events was the video installation prepared within the project Pomorsko je dobro! #embracethemediterranean, implemented by the Administrative Department of Tourism and Maritime Affairs of the Split-Dalmatia County.