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Implementing a coastal observatory network in the Mediterranean Sea


Sharing methodologies and coastal services (remote sensing surveys, protocols, models, dataset, etc.) directly among the public bodies involved in coastal and marine management, is the best way to improve their knowledge and thus develop their governance skills. This paper analyses objectives, aims and organisational aspects as well as the next steps for the creation of a Network of Mediterranean Observatories to monitor coastline changes and extreme climate events, to be shared by the different levels of governance. The idea formulated by MAREMED was further elaborated by the Joint Action Plan of the Macro-Project outlined in the Bologna Charter 2012.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How did the institutional context in which MSP is implemented emerge?
  • How have MSP related institutions (governance mechanisms and sectors) evolved over time?
  • How have MSP approaches in general or specific MSP areas responded to ecosystem change?

Implementation Context

The implementation of the Network is one of the specific tasks of the COASTGAP project and many of the partners involved will be called to join it by signing a simple Memorandum of Understanding.

Aspects / Objectives

The objective of the project is to set up a Network of Observatories to monitor coastal change and extreme climate events, where the information and experience can be shared at the Mediterranean level by different levels of governance.

Based on coastal defence and ICZM a Network of Observatories should carry out mainly two types of activities:

  • Operational services: services mainly based on data gathering and the related processing required for their presentation
  • Consultative services: services mainly based on the elaboration and development of methodologies and standards useful for a homogeneous and worldwide comparable monitoring dataset about marine-coastal zones, and indicators for Decision Support Systems, planning activities, governance tools for ICZM and MPS


The way towards a Network of Coastal Observatories has been based on different studies and activities:

  • OBSEMEDI: feasibility study showed it is preferable not to focus on a single centralised observatory but rather on a network of observatories composed of existing potential organisations
  • COASTANCE: study analyzing the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation as a possible structure for the network
  • RESMAR: study by a network of stakeholders, who develop shared methodologies about data gathering and analysis on littoral dynamics
  • MAREMED Project carried out census of observatories  with support of FACECOAST cluster
  • FACECOAST WebGIS: implementation of database

Main Outputs / Results

  • Network of coastal observatories
  • Including a database with structured layout enabling clear and immediate information on consultation of observatory 


  • The MAREMED Practice demonstrates that a Network of Observatories can be made based on a network of independent monitoring units, where networks can directly linked to competent Administrative Authorities and other entities.
  • The necessary relation between the “Network of Observatories” and other entities can be made possible through links to other networks where networks share information and experiences
  • The MAREMED Practice shows the importance of collaboration with other European projects.

Contact Person

Paolo Lupino,  Lazio Region

E-Mail: (palupino[at]regione[dot]lazio[dot]it)


Responsible Entity

Thematic coordinator: Lazio Region, Italy