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29.04.2013 Maltese Archipelago an exciting Laboratory for Sustainability

Extracted from http://www.mepa.org.mt/newslet37-article14

 

Outlook speaks to representatives of EUCC (EU’s Coastal and Marine Union) about the work and initiatives the Union is responsible for, in its efforts to promote sustainable tourism. 

The organising committee, EUCC (the EU’s Coastal Marine Union), aims to establish coastal communities which provide high quality tourism services and promote sustainable development, while protecting the area’s historical and environmental value. The EUCC, Europe’s largest coastal expert network with 2,000 expert members in 40 countries, 35 staff working in five offices and a large projects portfolio, established a Maltese branch in 2007 run by Marlyse Cremers and Foppe J. Seekles. 

Since 2002 EUCC experts have led the development of progress and sustainability indicators for the EU ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) Recommendation, and these indicators have proven highly useful to measure and monitor tourism sustainability at local authority level. This was the start of the QualityCoast programme, in 2007. 

Every year around 15 island and coastal destinations are selected for a QualityCoast Award. Participating municipalities are always surprised by how useful the QualityCoast assessment method is when it comes to learning about their strengths and weaknesses. The benefits of participation in the QualityCoast programme are well worth the investment, and EUCC recommends the participation of Maltese municipalities in QualityCoast. Last year, Gozo and Comino received the Quality Coast Gold Award for progress in the field of sustainable tourism. As Europe's Iargest coastal expert network, the EUCC kick-started ICZM in the EU as early as 1990, supported the EC ICZM Demonstration Programme in the 1990s and the EU ICZM Recommendation in 2002.

It is also represented in the EU Expert Group for ICZM. The latest result of the Group’s work was the drafting of the Commission's proposal for an EU Framework Directive on ICZM and Maritime Spatial Planning. Malta’s high demographic pressure and the government’s ambition to improve the quality of life make the Maltese archipelago an exciting laboratory for sustainability, but the EUCC believes that a Maltese platform can be highly beneficial for the government’s ambitions, such as blue growth, sustainable and competitive tourism, and Eco-Gozo. 

EUCC is an association which allows its members in each country to create an autonomous national branch, which provides an important platform for coastal experts and practitioners. EUCC (Malta) has the possibility of linking to other EUCC-programmes, such as the fight against beach and marine litter (www.marlisco.eu), the collection of old fishing gear for recycling (Healthy Seas initiative) and the creation of a Young Professionals Coastal Community (www.ypcc.eu). This year EUCC and the Ministry for Gozo will co-organise the prize-giving ceremony in Gozo on 20th May. The EUCC will also contribute to the European Maritime Day Conference to be held in Malta on 21st and 22nd May.

 

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