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REST-COAST Project: the MEDSEA approach contributes to the resilience fo the European seas

Overcoming traditional marine-coastal restoration practices and developing an integrated low-carbon model, capable of systemically looking at the link that coasts maintain with rivers. The MEDSEA Foundation is part of REST-COAST, the Horizon 2020 project of the European Union which brings together the energies and skills of 38 partners, coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. 

Nine sites chosen by the project in the seas that surround Europe, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Black and the Baltic Sea. Here the newfound connectivity between river systems and coastal areas consisting of dunes, wetlands and Posidonia meadows will improve the quality of ecosystem services that these environments can guarantee in terms of biodiversity, richness of fish stocks and the ability to mitigate extreme weather events caused by climate change. 

No longer a series of isolated interventions that solve single critical issues, but an organic vision of the territories threatened by rising temperatures and sea levels, an integrated approach to conservation and management that involves stakeholders and local communities, together committed in finding, through the language and practices of scientific research, a long-term solution. "REST-COAST will develop a systemic approach to the adaptation process of coastal areas that is in line with the objectives set by the Green Deal of the European Union", said Professor Augustin Sanchez-Arcilla, coordinator of the project, during the kick-off meeting held in November in Barcelona. 

"REST-COAST is based on nature-based-solutions, solutions based on the sustainable use of nature to address the social, economic and environmental challenges brought about by the climate crisis", explains Francesca Frau, project manager for the MEDSEA Foundation. “It is in line with the directives that emerged from COP 26, and in general with the new way of interpreting the fight against climate change. Our role within the project will be to provide knowledge and practices that we have accumulated over the years, operating in a context of insularity with the Maristanis, TuneUP and MedSeaGrass projects, implemented in Sardinia". 

These projects show how avant-garde and far-reaching an integrated approach to restoration and sustainable development of marine-coastal environments can be. Maristanis has recently reached a very important goal with the "Coastal Contract", a document that brings together eleven municipalities in the Gulf of Oristano, the Sardinia Region, the Reclamation Consortium and the Province in a decision-making body that has set itself the task of imagining and building the eco-sustainable future of the gulf, as well as the rare and fragile wetlands that surround it. TuneUp, which has the municipality of Cabras and the Sinis Peninsula-Mal di Ventre Island Marine Protected Area as scenarios, has engaged the youth community in a participatory process that aims to trigger a direct, organic involvement of the population in the management of environmental assets and of the related ecosystem services. Finally, with MedSeaGrass, MEDSEA is working to restore the Posidonia oceanica meadows in the Sinis Marine Protected Area itself and, parallel, establishing a new model of mooring that is compatible with the marine ecosystem.

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