mardi 24 mars 2009

Impact of large coastal Mediterranean cities on marine ecosystems

From 10 to 12 February an international workshop on the "Impact of large coastal Mediterranean cities" was held in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt. CIESM (1) joined forces with ASRT (2), IAEA/MEL (3) , IFREMER (4), NIOF (5), and UNEP/MAP-MED POL (6), to organize this meeting, with the support of the French RM&CWA (7). The event brought together some forty scientists and experts from ten Mediterranean bordering countries and relevant International Organizations.

The work carried out during the three-day meeting in Alexandria allowed to i) share experiences and tools to better understand pressures exerted by coastal metropolises on Mediterranean marine ecosystems, ii) identify scientific gaps, and iii) formulate propositions for better public management.
Large coastal cities represent nowadays a threat to marine ecosystems and a real challenge for sustainable development in the Mediterranean Sea due to their rapid development -particularly in the southern and eastern areas- which exerts multiple pressures on the environment.
Because of the large harbours and transport infrastructures (roads, airports, etc.) to which they are linked, coastal metropolises are complex systems where multiple interactions take place.

Scientists aim to better understand the impacts engendered by these urban areas so as to ensure that a healthy ecological status of the sea and its capacity to contribute to human welfare is preserved. To this end, further attention should be drawn to:
- the inputs of chemical pollutants and litter from diffuse sources into the sea, as well as their faith and impact on marine habitats and food chains;
- the impact of coastal structures on the seafloor and coastal/ marine habitats;
- the extent (regional and/ or local) of the ecological disturbance zone around large coastal cities.

All participants agreed that regional, north-south cooperation in the domains of environmental research is essential for the development of a common Mediterranean science. Such a regional partnership must rely on the acquisition of harmonized, consistent, and easily accessible data, in line with the objectives of the Barcelona Convention and the EU initiative Horizon 2020, which aim at the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea. New knowledge should be accompanied by strengthened dialogue among scientists, decision makers, stakeholders, urban managers, and the public at large. This participative approach represents a sine qua non condition to raise awareness and thus reduce pressures liable of harming the marine environment.

(1) Mediterranean Science Commission
(2) Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt
(3) International Atomic Energy Agency/ Marine Environment Laboratories
(4) French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, France
(5) National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Egypt
(6) United Nations Environment Programme/ Mediterranean Action Plan - Mediterranean Pollution Monitoring and Research Programme
(7) Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency

Contact Presse:
Mediterranena Science Commission
Alessia Rodriguez y Baena


Communiqué envoyé le 03/24/2009 02:06:47 PM via le site dans la rubrique Environnement

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