The coastal zones of the Mediterranean are at the same time undergoing
rapid development with growing and conflicting demands on the
natural resources, and at the same time subject to often irreversible
degradation of these resources and thus the very basis for development.
Water resources and the related land use issues are a key element
for the sustainable development of coastal regions.
They illustrate the dependency of the usually dynamic
and fast growing coastal areas on their resource catchment.
This project will explore methods and tools for long-term policy analysis
and strategic decision support for integrated coastal development with
special emphasis on water resources and land use, and
the resource balance between the coastal region and inland areas.
The approach is based on a multi-sectoral integration of quantitative and
qualitative analysis, combining advanced tools of quantitative systems engineering
using numerical simulation models, with methods of environmental, socio-economic
and policy impact assessment using rule-based expert systems technology
and interactive decision support methods.
Water resources modeling including both quantitative and qualitative aspects will
provide the framework for policy scenarios, exploring different development strategies,
the consequences and implications of demographic, socio-economic, and technological
development, and the interaction of these driving forces towards long-term
sustainability of the coastal regions and their hinterland.
Aiming to support a participatory approach to policy making and impact assessment,
the approach also foresees the extensive use of the Internet to facilitate
broad participation and a shared information basis to empower the various actors
and stake-holders in the decision making process, contributing to the development
of a civic society.
The integration of advanced quantitative methods and models with qualitative
assessment aggregated into policy relevant indicators of sustainable development
will add scientific rigor to the interactive and participatory political process.
This will make it possible to focus the debate on policy issues, objectives and
values rather than the underlying physical based data and information describing
better quantifiable constraints and dependencies of the physical world.
A common methodology for policy design, evaluation, and decision making
will be developed and tested in a set of parallel case studies. in
each of the participating Mediterranean countries, and compared with the
corresponding EU policies.
Lessons from the comparative analysis of these case studies will help
to ensure a generic and generally applicable methodology, and at the
same time help to foster inter-regional contacts and the exchange