During the week of 10 to 14 November , Integrated Resources Management Co. Ltd hosted a successful meeting for the EU-funded Mare Nostrum project, which deals with coastal planning and management around the Mediterranean Sea.
The central focus of the meeting was a training workshop on PPGIS, Public Participatory GIS, also known as local community mapping, conducted by IRMCo for the project partners hailing from Israel, Greece and Spain. In this project, IRMCo is adapting the PPGIS approach, which it has successfully employed in previous water management research projects, to coastal zone planning and management. IRMCo specializes in weaving public participatory approaches in multi-actor and multi-disciplinary scenarios to stimulate discussion with relevant stakeholders, endusers, decision makers and local communities.
In the workshop, IRMCo explained in detail the process it embarked on in its own pilot area to map the remaining blue and green Open Spaces in the Grand Harbour, and then proceeded with conducting hands-on training on the participatory mapping process in a number of sessions. Presentations covered techniques of how to attract and interest the local communities to round table discussions; described the steps taken to conduct fieldwork to construct maps with new information on Open Spaces; and the use of interactive tablets through which the local community can be empowered to add their own knowledge and perceptions to these maps.
A boat excursion round the Grand Harbour gave partners a first-hand experience of the prevailing coastal issues together with the presentations by local planning experts and NGOs. Professor David Attard, Director of the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) delivered the keynote address to the project team on the coastal legal challenges in the Mediterranean.
During the week the project partners also voiced concern over the newly proposed 3 hotels to be built on virgin coast in the South. Malta is a signatory of the Barcelona Convention where it mentions amongst other relevant principles, the principle of not building within the 100 meters of the coastline and of limiting the linear extension of urban development and the creation of new transport infrastructure along the coast, and to encourage sustainable coastal tourism that preserves coastal ecosystems, natural resources, cultural heritage and landscapes.
The Mare Nostrum project is funded by the European Union under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. Mare Nostrum's total budget is 4.32 million Euro, of which 90% is financed by the EU through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. For further information, please visit www.marenostrumproject.eu.