25 September 2021


The Mediterranean Coast Day is an initiative to promote the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) as the optimal policy framework for achieving sustainable development of coastal areas, and the PAP/RAC, the Coastal Management Centre of UNEP/MAP, is the promoter of this action in the Mediterranean Region.

This initiative aims to increase environmental awareness among policy makers, academics, media, NGOs and local populations, but also to promote and implement activities that, at the same time, consider fragile, ecological, social and cultural contexts and lead to sustainable coastal development


Ambassador for the Mediterranean Coast 2021

Split, Croatia, 27 September 2021Lefteris Arapakis, a national of Greece, has received the honorary title of Ambassador for the Mediterranean Coast conferred by the Priority Action ProgrammeRegional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), a Regional Activity Centre of the UN Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan.

The announcement was made on 27 September 2021 by Zeljka Skaricic, the Director of PAP/RAC, during an online event organised by the Croatia-based Centre as part of the celebration of the 2021 edition of Mediterranean Coast Day (25 September).

The title of Ambassador for the Mediterranean Coast is conferred to individuals who inspire, through their work and engagement, the people from the Mediterranean and beyond, to better understand, protect and respect the coasts and their environment

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In recent years, PAP/RAC has bestowed the title to an array of personalities ranging from actors and Mediterranean country officials to writers and sailors. “The decision to award the title to Lefteris Arapakis is an acknowledgement of his remarkable contribution to a cleaner Mediterranean,” said Ms. Škaričić.

Mr. Arapakis, who was announced as UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for Europe in 2020, hails from a family of fishers. He has witnessed from an early age boats around his hometown of Piraeus (a sea-side suburb of Athens, Greece) hauling in nets filled with litter instead of fish. The plastic rubbish was then thrown back in the sea instead of being disposed of properly. He decided to act.

In 2016 Lefteris Arapakis co-founded Enaleia, the first professional fishing school in Greece. His objectives were to instil environmentally friendly practices in the profession, and to motivate the fishers to collect discarded plastic they encounter in the Mediterranean. Thanks to this endeavour, the fishers affiliated to his social enterprise remove about 20 tonnes of plastic from the sea every month. A partnership with an organization based in the Netherlands allows for the recycling of discarded fishing nets (the most common by-catch) into carpets, socks, masks and other consumer products.

As Mrs Škaričić emphasized: “The Mediterranean is one of the most marine-litter-affected regional seas. Discarded single-use plastics are notoriously ubiquitous. Marine litter has adverse and far-reaching environmental and socio-economic impacts, including on human health. The problem is rooted in unsustainable consumption and production patterns. Through the Regional Plan on Marine Litter devised in the context of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention), we are promoting the use of available tools and approaches for the removal of marine litter from the seafloor – we call it Fishing for Litter (FfL), and it includes the retrieval of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear. “Fishing for Litter” offers many benefits of the environmental, social, economic and scientific kind. The inspiring work that Lefteris Arapakis is doing with Enaleia is important and relevant, as it successfully demonstrates that individual and local initiatives driven by passion and shared priorities are crucial in complementing action taken at the regional level.”

“We are convinced that Mr. Arapakis’s enthusiasm and the sense of initiative will make Lefteris an excellent Ambassador for the Mediterranean coast,” Ms. Škaričić concluded.

Notes for editors
Mediterranean Coast Day (25 September) is a UNEP/MAP regional annual observance introduced under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol of the Barcelona Convention. PAP/RAC is the promoter of this important observance for the Mediterranean.

The slogan of Mediterranean Coast Day (introduced in 2020) is The Mediterranean needs you. If you put a seashell to your ear, you will hear it calling

The date of 25 September was selected to commemorate the first ratification of the ICZM Protocol by Slovenia. Now more than ever, commitment to compliance and enforcement of the instruments adopted under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols is critical to the region’s efforts to recover better in the post-COVID era.

From its initial focus on ICZM, Mediterranean Coat Day has evolved to embrace a broader range of themes pertaining to the health of coastal and marine ecosystems in the context of sustainable development.

Lefteris Arapakis’s biography
Previous Ambassadors for the Mediterranean Coast
Contact: veronique.evers@paprac.org


Burning issue

Let’s focus on urbanisation!

The Mediterranean is the most densely populated closed sea in the world. The total population of the Mediterranean countries grew from 276 million in 1970 to 512 million in 2018. It is predicted to grow by an additional 182 million inhabitants by 2050.
In 2019, the percentage of built-up areas has reached an astounding rate

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The coastal zone is becoming increasingly populated and built up and concentrates most of the major cities, many transport routes (roads, ports, airports), as well as industrial and energy infrastructure. This concentration is intensifying year after year and generates more pollution and disturbance leading to environmental degradation and increased risks for coastal populations and infrastructure. Besides these pressures in coastal areas, natural hazards such as storms and flooding add to the overall challenge. As their frequency, occurrence and intensity increase, they pose a real threat and weaken the resilience of ecosystems, human populations and coastal infrastructure. In this context of increasing environmental changes, including climate change threats, a strong landscape and ecosystem protection policies are needed.

PAP/RAC has proposed some new indicators aiming to reveal the sustainability of the spatial development along the Mediterranean coast. Some of these indicators have been proposed to Mediterranean countries for monitoring of the good environmental status of the Mediterranean Sea, while some are proposed to regional and national government in the framework of the Coastal Plans. These indicators also measure the level of fragmentation of the coastal ecosystems and therefore, coastal ecosystems health. Several indicators have been proposed for monitoring to the Mediterranean countries on coastal ecosystems and landscapes that reveal the sustainability of the spatial development along the Mediterranean coast


Time to draw a line in the sand: a reflection for healthier Mediterranean coasts

Organized by PAP/RAC, this reflection will be held on this special occasion on the 27 September 2021 from 09 to 11 am. It will deal about two crucial and connected issues: coastal urbanisation and tourism in the prism of the post Covid era.

The objectives of the webinar are to present the latest development related to burning issues in the Mediterranean: coastal urbanisation and tourism in the context of changing climate; and to present pathways to promote sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean and to address multiple challenges in a (post-) covid era.

To download more info, please go to the following link

If you would like to see the video of the webinar, please go to the following link

Ocean literacy festival

Supported by the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, the EU4Ocean Coalition is organising its Mediterranean Ocean Literacy Festival, which will showcase ocean literacy initiatives and activities from all coasts and countries of the Mediterranean Sea.

This Mediterranean Ocean literacy festival will take place on Mediterranean Coast Day, September 25th, 2021, and is part of the wider EU4Ocean coalition Mediterranean Sea basin event (organised around September 24th and September 25th, 2021) which aims at bringing ocean literacy to everybody’s mind and actions in the Mediterranean Sea

The National Convention of Coastal Studies organized at the Ferrara’s Fiere e Congressi

On the 24 of September, on the occasion of the Mediterranean Coast Day, the National Convention of Coastal Studies (CNSC) will be held at Ferrara’s  Fiere e Congressi, within the frame of the RemTechExpo2021 technology fair, in the sphere of events dedicated to the coastal and marine management and protection, coastal engineering and small ports.

The participation of the most competitive companies in the sector is expected, together with the representatives of the main authorities, including the ministries, the port authorities, the Regions and others.

The event will take place from 14:30 to 18:30

An Effective Law at the service of the Mediterranean Sea: stop plastic pollution and establish legal indicators

Organized by the International Center for Comparative Environmental Law (Centre international de droit comparé de l’environnement), the webinar entitled An Effective Law at the service of the Mediterranean Sea: stop plastic pollution and establish legal indicators will take place on the 25 of September 2021  from 17 to 19 (CEST)

2 days celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H)

In the framework of the Coastal Area Management Program (CAMP) B&H project a two-day activities will be organised for the celebration of the Coast Day 2021 on the 23 and 24th of September. The first day will be dedicated to capacity building of stakeholders by organising two training workshops dedicated to the sustainable development of tourism and in particular on how to link coastal and hinterland tourism in the area of Neum.

The afternoon oft he second day will be dedicated to the celebration with the general public and will include a number of interesting activities involving school kids, music, workshops, beach cleaning and alike

Let's promote a sustainable tourism in Ghar El Melh

On the 30 of September 2021, a workshop will be organized in Ghar El Melh, Tunisia, on the occasion of the Coast Day. It will be an occasion to present the action plan for a sustainable tourism developed in the framework of the MAVA project, but also to celebrate through multiple awareness raising activities the beauty of their coast