Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Arab Republic of Egypt

An International Workshop on ‘Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management in the Mediterranean’ was held in Alexandria in April 1997; it was organized by Alexandria University, the Supreme Council for Antiquities and UNESCO. Papers from the workshop were published as Coastal Management Sourcebook 2 (2000): ‘Underwater Archaeology and Coastal Management. Focus on Alexandria’; fourteen specialists from Egypt contributed to the publication. The workshop led to the development of an action plan identifying integrated solutions to the problems of coastline instability that threaten Qait Bey Citadel, the Alexandria Lighthouse and other cultural heritage sites along Alexandria’s coast. The Alexandria initiative developed into a pilot project, then a field project, ‘Underwater Archaeology and Sustainable Coastal Development’, to deal with a growing number of linked problems: coastline instability; conservation of cultural heritage; urban wastewater management; demographic growth and tourism.

Two representatives from Alexandria attended a meeting held in Essaouira, Morocco in November 1997 on ‘Urban Development and Freshwater Resources: small coastal cities’. A report of the meeting was published as CSI Info 5 in English and French. Two Egyptian trainees attended a regional training course on the ‘Use of Remote Sensing Technique in Coastal Research and Management’ (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 1996).

The Qait Bey Citadel and Pharos Lighthouse were assessed in terms of wave damage and human intervention in September 1997 and 1998. A study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of preserving the site while opening it to tourists.

An ‘International Workshop on Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management’, held in Alexandria, Egypt, in April 1997, brought together experts on underwater archaeology, antiquities and history to debate issues with coastal engineers, oceanographers and remote-sensing experts and exchange views with urban planners, museum directors and legal experts.

In 1998 in co-operation with the UNESCO Sector for Culture, international experts confirmed the feasibility of an underwater archaeological museum on the site of archaeological remains off the Alexandrian coast. They proposed strategies and gave preliminary cost estimates of alternative ways of opening the site, or making the material available, for public display and academic research. They suggested that the site should be proposed as a World Heritage Site.

Round table discussions and workshops involving key stakeholders from the antiquities, environment, urban planning and tourism sectors to co-ordinate efforts to confront the major challenge of elaborating a master plan for the Citadel/Pharos site and surrounding area continued through 1997-1999 (1997, July, September and December 1998, February 1999). A study on the socio-economic aspects of the underwater museum project was conducted in September 1999. Intersectoral co-ordination meetings for planning and follow-up of the Alexandria Pilot Project were held at regular intervals during 1999 (Cairo, March; UNESCO Paris, June; Alexandria, July). A workshop on the ‘Status of the Pilot Project for the Sustainable Development of the Submarine Archaeological sites at Qayet Bay Citadel and Eastern Harbour’ took place in Alexandria in November1999.

One participant from Egypt attended the intersectoral workshop ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practices’ held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the end of 1998. A report on the workshop was published in English and French as CSI info 10 (2000): ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development. Results of an Intersectoral Workshop and Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Virtual Forum’. The delegate from Egypt presented a paper on ‘An Integrated Water Management Plan for Alexandria’.

In January and February 1999 the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme, along with national hydrologists, conducted an ‘Urban Water Assessment’ of land-based sources of pollution defacing underwater heritage sites and restricting the potential for tourism. Action has been taken to stabilize the coastline adjacent to the Citadel and monitoring continues.

A ‘Draft Plan of Action for the Integrated Development of the Qayet Bey and Underwater Museum Project in Alexandria’ was prepared in April 1999. A report ‘Towards Integrated Management of Alexandria’s Coastal Heritage’ was finalised in 2000.

The theme of ‘“Operationalizing” Sustainable coastal development / Alexandria-Egypt’ was introduced as a discussion topic on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’ in July 1999, and continued through to 2000.

Between July and October data were collected on environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishing villages and other communities in the Qayet Bay.

A consultant from Egypt was one of a team of experts that visited the Port Sudan region of Sudan in January 2003. The team discussed the establishment of a ‘Biosaline Pilot Farm for Livestock Production’ with various stakeholders and identified potential sites for it.

 

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