SMART:  Sustainable Management of Scarce Resources
in the Mediterranean Coastal Zone
Project Objectives Policy Contributions Innovation Work Plan Deliverables
    Project Summary

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 of experience.

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