Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

The Italian Republic

A CSI-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)-EC workshop on ‘Arctic Coastal Ecosystems’ was held in Pisa in April 1996.

A UNESCO Chair in Environmental Sciences and Management was established at the University of Venice in June 1996. Support was provided for a workshop on the ‘Status of the Project on the Venice Lagoon System’ in Venice in May 1996, and for a forum for the Venice lagoon, organized as a series of weekly seminars on scientific, historical and environmental matters in April-June 1996. A textbook on aquatic microbial ecology (of the Venice lagoon) was prepared early in 1997.

An Italian specialist contributed to a draft project document on studies and conservation of biological diversity in the coastal zone of West Africa; he also attended a concluding meeting in Paris in May 1996.

Nine experts from Italy participated in the meeting on ‘Urban Development in the Coastal Environment’ held in Essaouira, Morocco in November 1997. A report of the meeting was published as CSI Info 5 in English and French. As part of an intersectoral project on ‘Urban Development and Freshwater Resources in Small Historic Coastal Cities’ the UNESCO-Venice Office arranged for two Italian archaeologists to visit Omisalj (Croatia) in May 1998 to help prepare a summer excavation and restoration campaign. The resulting excavation of the archaeological site of Fulfinium (Krk Island) and the early Christian Basilica took place in August and was led by an Italian expert. Thirty five Italian volunteers participated. This initial work laid the foundation for the preparation of a five-year archaeological project. A second summer excavation was organized the following August; twenty five researchers from Italy participated. Private and public sponsors from Italy and Croatia funded it.

Representatives of the municipalities of Andria, Camponogara dei Tirreni, Finale Emilia, Porto Viro, Rosolina and Taglio di Po visited the UNESCO-Venice Office and Omisalj in May 1998 to consider establishing a partnership between coastal cities in the Adriatic Region. An Italian expert participated, as a resource person, in the international residential seminar for the ‘Sustainable Development of Omisalj’ in October 1998. He presented the project results at the intersectoral workshop ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practices’ held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in the beginning of December 1998. A second Italian expert also attended this workshop. A report on the seminar was published as CSI info 8 (2000) ‘Développement Urbain Durable en Zone Côtière. Actes du Séminaire International’.

As part of the project ‘Development-Conservation Strategies for Integrated Coastal Management in Maputaland’ a joint UNESCO-Italian team visited Richards Bay, in Zululand, and Maputo Bay, in Mozambique, in May 1999, to identify with local partners essential elements for coastal zone management. The Italian Government approved further funding for the project in 2000. A one-year M.Sc. course in industrial crop production was established at the Universities of Zululand (South Africa) and Undine in 2001.

In 1999, as part of the Adriatic component of the Urban Development and Freshwater Resourcesproject, Italian experts attended planning meetings for the development of Omisalj, Croatia with: the Local Authorities in Omisalj (March); the Croatian National Commission and various Croatian Ministries in Zagreb (March); and with the Rijeka County Council. Italian experts also attended a seminar and a poster exhibition on the Omisalj project at a Public Forum organized by the Local Agenda 21 Working Group, in Omisalj, in May 1999.

Four Italian delegates, at an international seminar on ‘Sustainable Development in the Coastal Zones’ held in Mahdia, Tunisia, in June 1999, reported the Adriatic experience and compared it with that of the southern Mediterranean.

A young researcher from Italy was awarded a grant to undertake five months of anthropological research in Omisalj, to analyse the local environmental culture and identify potentially sustainable projects.

A short video was made illustrating the Omisalj component of the Urban Development and Freshwater Resourcesproject. It was produced in collaboration with an Italian video company and is now available in three languages: French, Italian and Croatian.

Delegates from Italy took part in a workshop on ‘Integrated Water Management of Small Islands and Coastal Cities’ held in Omisalj, Croatia, in October 1999. The workshop was organized by the Croatian National Commission for UNESCO as part of the intersectoral Urban Development and Freshwater Resources project. The workshop produced recommendations for water management in Omisalj.

Changing Attitudes to Traditional Houses / Sardinia, Italy’ and ‘Re-establishing Native Horticulture /Sardinia, Italy’ were introduced as topics for discussion on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum in June 1999.

An International Workshop on ‘Submarine Archaeology and Coastal Management in the Mediterranean’ was held in Alexandria in April 1997; twenty people from Italy attended it. Papers from the workshop were published as Coastal Management Sourcebook 2 (2000): ‘Underwater Archaeology and Coastal Management. Focus on Alexandria’; three specialists from Italy contributed to the publication.

One person from Italy participated in an ‘Anthropological Study on Participation and Environmental Planning (Omisalj project)’ in March 2000. A group of professors and students from Italy participated in the Omisalj excavation campaign in the summer of 2000.

An international meeting was held in Venice in November 2000 to review the experience gained from the Adriatic field project. The meeting was organised by the University of Venice and the UNESCO Venice Office.

Two scientists from Italy attended a workshop for CSI field project leaders on ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’, which was held in Mozambique in November 2001. They presented a paper on ‘Promoting the Development of Industrial Crops in Maputaland through Capacity Building’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts Over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

An agreement to establish a UNITWIN network among five European universities to promote wise coastal practices was signed by representatives of the universities involved (University of Aveiro, Portugal; University of Bologna, Italy; University of Cadiz, Spain; University of Riga, Latvia; Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg, Russia) in August 2002. The launch ceremony was held at the University of Cadiz, Spain, in September 2002. The UNESCO Venice office helped to organise a planning workshop involving the Universities of Bologna, Riga, St. Petersburg and Aveiro that was held in Cervia, Italy, in November 2002. 

UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an agreement in December 2002 to enable the UNESCO Venice Office to implement a project on ‘Adriatic Sea Environmental Master Plan - Croatia Module’. The aim is to produce an Internet-based tool-kit to manage Croatia’s coastal zone using geographic information systems and decision support systems.


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