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UNESCO Network of Small historical coastal cities (MOST - IHP - CSI)
Contact information

International Seminar
also available in French

‘Small historical coastal cities:
Urban development - finding a balance
among land, sea and people’

Mediterranean cities and territories

Hariri Foundation

City of Saïda

SAIDA, Lebanon
28 - 31 May 2001


© Revue Madina


Ever since HABITAT II, held in June 1996, UNESCO has initiated or reinforced specific activities intended to ‘humanize cities’ and develop the urban environment.

Cities, the scenes of civic and urban responsibility, of civilization and democracy, should also remain places of solidarity and social bonding, where everyone can contribute to the struggle against pollution, social breakdown and the fragmentation of cultural identity. Our cities should facilitate the linking of human rights with citizen participation, and guarantee equal access to drinking water. Provision should be made to pass on, to future generations, a natural and cultural environment that has been properly developed and safeguarded.

In 2025, 75% of the world’s population will live within 60 km of the sea… UNESCO’s intersectoral project on ‘Sustainable Urban Development of Small Historical Coastal Cities’ was created in 1996 to aid in the search for responses to the above concerns. This project was launched by the two international programmes: Management of Social Transformations (MOST) and the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), collaborating on the platform for Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI).

The network of small historical coastal cities in the Mediterranean, which came into being in November 1997 as a result of the International Seminar on Essaouira, serves as a framework, amongst the municipalities, for the exchange of experience and expertise and for the formulation of requests to UNESCO to evaluate certain problems, launch scientific studies or seek partnerships.

The main objective of the Saida seminar falls within the research programmes of MOST (Management of Social Transformations) concerning urban issues and, more specifically, the sustainable urban development of the coastal zone. Such is the focus of the intersectoral project: ‘Sustainable Urban Development of Small Historical Coastal Cities’, which studies the interrelationships among the protection of the coastal environment, ensuring of everlasting natural resources, and the integration of archaeology and cultural heritage in the planning for urban, social and economic development of multicultural societies.

Other UNESCO programmes have joined the above three programmes (MOST, CSI, IHP) in this effort, thus contributing to the interdisciplinarity of the project. They are the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Division of Cultural Heritage.

This seminar aims to stimulate reflection on the orientation and direction to be given to the urban development of Saida, taking into consideration its overall historical value, the urban projects foreseen by the national and local authorities, and the aspirations of the present and future populations; all of this in a very specific geopolitical context.

Thanks to the participation of the cities involved in the UNESCO networks of ‘Small Historical Coastal Cities’ and ‘Mediterranean Cities and Territories’, concrete experience can be presented.

Following the exposés presented by national and international experts, methodologies and concepts relevant to the seminar theme will be proposed.

This activity is being held in the framework within which the four pilot cities, Essaouira (Morocco), Mahdia (Tunisia), Omisalj (Croatia) and Saida (Lebanon) cooperate with UNESCO.

In January 1998, Saida’s parliamentary representative and mayor made a request to UNESCO to consider Saida as one of the pilot cities of the project. In June 1999, these same officials invited UNESCO to organize an international seminar on the theme ‘Small Historical Coastal Cities’, which took place in Saida, 28–31 May 2001.

Click here to read the synthesis report and the specific recommendations of the seminar.


Monday, 28 May 2001

Visit of Saida and surroundings

Plenary session on general topics
(open to the public)

Tuesday, 29 May 2001

Experts’ working sessions

Workshop 1

‘Coastal marine and terrestrial environment: Development and safeguarding of natural and cultural resources’

Workshop 2

‘The Old City’s heritage and archaeology: Urban integration vis-à-vis the challenge of socio-cultural and touristic development’

Workshop 3

‘Mobilization of urban and architectural resources: A new master plan for urban development’


Preparation of orientations and recommendations for each project. (For workshop leaders)

Wednesday, 30 May 2001

Morning: Interdisciplinary working session for the experts of the three workshops

Afternoon: Individual workshop sessions + Session for the final preparation of orientations and recommendations for urban development

Thursday, 31 May 2001

Plenary session

Closing session


The plenary sessions will be held in the Municipal Building, 28–31 May 2001.

Simultaneous interpretation in Arabic, French and English will be provided for the plenary sessions. However, the workshop sessions will be held in English or in French with consecutive interpretation.

The main part of the seminar will be devoted to workshop deliberations to come up with the orientations and recommendations for integrating the different parameters for the sustainable urban development of the city in view of the latter’s assets and limitations (historical, geopolitical, socio-cultural and economic, architectural and urban).

The Mediterranean cities participating in this seminar will be invited to show their own experiences, both positive and negative, and possibly propose, to Saida’s municipal government, their own technical expertise regarding the development and execution of the three urban projects.

The main presentations will be published in advance; the individual printed lectures will be available at the entrance to the Conference Room of the Municipal Building in the form of preliminary publications.

The representatives of Southern Mediterranean cities (one person per city) and the international speakers will be invited (travel and lodging covered) within the limits of the budget allocated to this activity by UNESCO and the Saida Municipality. The representative of Northern Mediterranean cities (one per city) will be invited (lodging covered) within the limits of the available facilities; however, the organizers will not cover the participants’ travel expenses.

There will be no inscription fee.

Contact :

Mrs Brigitte Colin
Division of Social Sciences, Research and Policy

1, rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15, France
Tel: +

Fax : +
E-mail: b.colin@unesco.org

ou :

M. Joseph Kreidi
Bureau de l'UNESCO
Cité sportive
Fax : +961.1.824.854
E-mail: j.kreidi@unesco.org

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