Promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems for the development of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism

CO-EVOLVE is an Interreg MED three-year project that aims at analysing and promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems in touristic coastal areas, allowing sustainable development of touristic activities based on the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP).
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CO-EVOLVE explained by its partners
The project's studying phase was successfully completed in January 2018. Partners involved produced a set of deliverables that can be used both at Mediterranean scale and pilot area scale These include the Threats and Enabling Factors analyses, as well as the sustainability toolkit. Customised tools were also developed in view of the implementation of pilot actions in the project’s pilot areas i.e. customised sustainability analyses and tourism-driven strategic planning.  All these deliverables are now available on CO-EVOLVE's website.

This important step was followed by the launch of testing activities in February 2018, which are now well under way. These consist in implementing pilot actions in the project’s pilot areas while abiding by the principles of the participatory process. Most pilot areas coordinators have started discussing with local stakeholders and are about to launch the participatory process. Testing activities are expected to end in May 2019.
Co-Evolve4BG recommended for funding
The Co-Evolve4BG project (Co-evolution of coastal human activities & Med natural systems for sustainable tourism & Blue Growth in the Mediterranean), submitted under the first call (standard projects) for proposals of the ENI CBC MED Programme was recommended to the second step of the evaluation process (see related article). 

Co-Evolve4BG was presented in the frame of ENI CBC MED’s priority on environment-ICZM and as a part of the wider “Med Coast for Blue Growth” (MedCoast4BG) project and in connection to CO-EVOLVE, of which Co-Evolve4BG is an extension to the southern and eastern part of the Mediterranean. 

The project focuses on the conditions for -and promotes- the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems for the development of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism, as already addressed by CO-EVOLVE but extending its action towards the South &East Mediterranean coastal areas.

It is led by the National Institutes of Science and Technologies of the Sea of Tunisia (INSTM) and has 9 other partners, including Region of Lazio; the Region of Eastern and Macedonia Thrace; the University of Murcia (Department of Ecology); the Region of Crete; the Valencia Port Foundation; the ANPE; the Lebanese Ministry of Works and Public Transportation; as well as the Al-Midan and Amwaj NGOs in Lebanon. 
Alexandroupoli-Makri and Keramoti-Thassos (East Macedonia and Thrace)

The Alexandroupoli-Makri area is near a Natura 2000 protected area whereas the Keramoti village is inside the protected area. Both sites face pressure for littoralisation, urban expansion along the coast, erosion issues connected to the port construction and expansion. The aim of these pilot actions are to foster the urban redevelopment of the coastal front in order to attract local and international tourism while protecting the natural environment which is the main “tourism product”.

Cattolica harbor/coastal area and Comacchio/Lido di Spina (Emilia-Romagna)

The first one consists of an urbanised coastal area with multipurpose harbor (fishery, shipyard, crafts production, pleasure boats Marina) and seaside resort structured with bath-house facilities, and the second one is Beach area with abandoned bath-house facilities (recently demolished by the Municipality of Comacchio) along the right side of the Logonovo channel in Lido di Spina seaside resort. Both are facing decreased attractiveness reflecting on nearby areas affecting local touristic economy, housing and employment. 

Rosolina Mare and Polesine Camerini (Veneto Po Delta Park)

Both pilots sites are touristic areas located inside the Park. Rosolina Mare is facing problems related to touristic pressure during the high season (summer months) focused on the seaside areas. Polesine Camerini is subject to conflicts between the mono functional industrial area and the proximity to SPA Po Delta area. 

Port of Valencia (Valencia)

The port of Valencia is one of the city's most important institutions for both the city and the region. Historically, port activities have been responsible for the economic growth of the region through trade exchanges, passenger movements and maritime services from which the modern city of Valencia has developed. Obviously, Cruises vessels is a key source of revenue for the MED Coastal Areas and particularly for the Valencian Region, but this kind of tourism is also pointed out as a source of pressure and environmental impacts. The vessel impact at ports and nearby areas affecting negatively to the city in terms of environment.

Maguelone/Frontignan area and West Hérault coast (Hérault)

Maguelone/Frontignan is a coastal area with lagoons and a small mountain. The touristic zone of Frontignan-plage has several lagoons crossed by waterways. The Maguelone island is a classified site with a specific history. The West Hérault coast cnsists of the Orb river, 2 coastal villages, buildings, some big campings, and natural areas. Both areas are facing several problems i.e. beach and dune erosion, sea & river flooding, touristic pressure in the ports.

Coastal area of Kaštela bay (Split Dalmatia County)

The coastline of the Town of Kaštela has a very specific history and has been part of one of the biggest infrastructural projects in the Mediterranean - Eco Kaštela Bay financed by the WB and EBRD. The project entailed the rise of the sea quality level along the Town of Kaštela coastline, transforming it into a beach area for the local population and in a very attractive touristic destination. The development related to the expansion of tourism in this area caused lacks urbanism patterns and causes strong pressures on natural resources and cultural heritage sites in the narrow land-sea zone. Furthermore, beach erosion presents a big problem for settlements, particularly for 7 historical castles and road infrastructure, which are very close to the coastline.

Neretva River delta (Dubrovnik-Neretva County) 

This area covers the urban area including the city of Ploče and special areas of natural heritage in the Neretva River Delta (Southeast part of the Neretva Delta) which is listed as Ramsar site and declared as a Special Ichthiological Ornithological Reserve and a unique landscape in Europe. The whole area is under Natura 2000. The future of this area should be based on balancing the need for further development and the need to protect natural resources. It is also necessary to coordinate the development of different and sometimes conflicting activities and needs, such as agriculture, water management, infrastructure construction, tourism, industry, increasing the quality of life, etc.

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CO-EVOLVE 4th Steering Committee – 6/7 March 2018 (Bologna)

CO-EVOLVE partners met in Bologna at a transitional period for the project that just moved from module 1 (studying phase) to module 2 (testing and transferring phase). They spent over one year – from November 2016 to February 2018 – analysing threats to and enabling factors for sustainable tourism and defining and quantifying tourism sustainability at Mediterranean and pilot area scale. 

During this two-day meeting, partners first discussed internal issues, as well as the overall progress of the project. Partners responsible for the last activities of the project’s studying phase presented the main results of their work and showed how these will feed the testing activities at pilot area scale. The Emilia-Romagna Region, which coordinates the project’s testing activities, also presented the testing phase’s action plan and expected outputs. This phase consists in translating into practice the findings of the studying phase through pilot actions carried out at pilot area scale.

The event followed the second day with a first training course aiming to help partners be prepared for the implementation of pilot actions, in coherence with Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) principles and findings from the project’s studying phase. On this occasion, partners learnt more about a series of topics, including ICZM, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), land-sea-interaction, sustainability indicators, strategic planning and stakeholders’ involvement/participatory process.

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CO-EVOLVE's Po Delta Park Coordination Board – 6 April 2018 (Rosolina)

The Po Delta Park Veneto and the University IUAV of Venice met local stakeholers in Rosolina municipality on 6 April 2018, one of the pilot areas of the project, to prepare the implementation of testing activities in the area.

CO-EVOLVE's Valenciport Coordination Board – 28 May 2018 (Valencia)

Valenciaport Foundation, which is a partner of CO-EVOLVE, organised a meeting with Port of Valencia's local stakeholders to raise awareness on the Interreg MED CO-EVOLVE and SIROCCO projects on 28 May 2018 in Valencia.

This information session taking place in the Port of Valencia was the occasion to present the conclusions of SIROCCO and prepare CO-EVOLVE's testing activities, engaging stakeholders as part of the participatory process.

This meeting brought together a variety of actors involved in the cruise tourism value chain in Valencia i.e. destination managers, service providers, tour operators, ground transportation providers, tourist guides, enterprises, etc.  

CPMR Intermediterranean Commission Political Bureau - Cartagena, 14-15 February 2018

The CPMR Intermediterranean Commission (IMC), which is a partner of CO-EVOLVE, organised its Political Bureau in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain) on 14-15 February 2018. This event brought together representatives of the IMC Political Bureau as well as external stakeholders (EU institutions, observers) and partner networks and organisations (UfM, Interreg MED PANORAMED, etc.).

The event included a meeting the Bologna Charter's Coordination Board, during which the update of the Charter and its Joint Action Plan were discussed. One full session of the Political Bureau was dedicated to sustainainable tourism. Finally, the IMC member Regions adopted a Political Agenda on Sustainable Tourism (which was updated in June 2018, in the frame of the IMC's General Assembly), in which CO-EVOLVE is mentioned. The updated version of the Political Agenda is available here

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MADE in MED - Rome, 18-19 April 2018

Many representatives from the CO-EVOLVE project took part in the “MADE in MED – Crafting the future Mediterranean” event organised by the Interreg MED Programme in Rome, Italy, on 18-19 April 2018. This major event, which celebrated reaching the mid-term of the Programme for the 2014-2020 period, gathered around 800 people, including local, regional and national public authorities, universities, research entities, private entities and interest groups, among others. These included representatives from the Programme’s 91 projects, decision-makers, experts, policy promoters and the media, among others.

All the Programme’s thematic communities were represented in this two-day conference addressing issues such as blue and green growth, creative industries and social innovation, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy, low carbon transport, sustainable tourism, biodiversity protection, maritime surveillance and governance.

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Interreg MED Tourism community 'Re-connecting Tourism' conference - Rome, 29-30 May 2018

The Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism community held its mid-term conference in Rome on 29-30 May 2018. On this occasion, involved projects and stakeholders promoted evidence-based policies for tourism development
Organised by the BleuTourMed horizontal project on Sustainable Tourism – which involves key networks active in the field of sustainable tourism i.e. Arco Latino, UNIMED, Plan Bleu – the mid-term conference brought together representatives from all projects from the community, including CO-EVOLVE.

CO-EVOLVE was represented in panel one of the thematic panels of the conference entitled ‘evidence for better policies mobility on tourism to inform the policy makers process’, during which its main results were presented, particularly the Tourism Sustainability Toolkit and synergies and complementarities with key projects and initiatives such as MITOMED+, MEDCOAST4BG, the EU West Med maritime initiative and BLUEMED were highlighted.  Among the issues highlighted was the need for projects to translate data into key messages to better influence policy making, as well as the added value of the Interreg MED PANORAMED project’s model of governance, which gatheras key Euromed actors active in the field of sustainable tourism.
During the event, the CO-EVOLVE and MITOMED+ projects also had the chance to meet and exchange on future collaboration and possible joint actions. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two projects, to set the main features of the collaboration and common commitments will be signed soon.

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'Sustainable Tourism' community second capitalisation event - Marseille (20-21 November 2018)
The second capitalisation event of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community will take place 20-21 November 2018 in Marseille (France). It will be focused on strategic topics of the Mediterranean tourism sector:
  • How to bridge the data gaps on tourism?
  • Reducing the environmental-cultural-social impacts of tourism in the Mediterranean region
  • Tourism as a strategic driver for a sustainable and responsible economic growth and prosperity in the Mediterranean region
  • Governance mechanisms to engage and to include a wide variety of stakeholders in a more sustainable and responsible tourism.

More information coming soon on the 'Sustainable Tourism' Community's website.
CO-EVOLVE 5th Steering Committee / MedCoast4BG 1st Project Meeting - Barcelona (29-31 November 2018)
CO-EVOLVE's 5th Steering Committee will take place in Barcelona on 29-31 November 2018, at the invitation of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). It will be organised back-to-back with MedCoast4BG's 1st Project Meeting. The event will bring together all partners from both partnerships. 

More information coming soon on CO-EVOLVE's website
Become an observer of CO-EVOLVE
If you want to become an observer of the CO-EVOLVE project and monitor/get involved in its activities, we invite you to fill in this form.
It was developed in order to ensure the results of the project are being disseminated as broadly as possible and capitalised on, but also to engage as many stakeholders as possible in its activities. 
The CO-EVOLVE project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Interreg MED Programme.
Lead partner: Region of East Macedonia and Thrace - Regional Development Fund
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