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Coastal Contract: from f the partecipatory process comes the idea of a Regional Park for the Sardinian wetlands.

The first round of meetings of the Coastal Contract participatory process came to an end. For two months it saw the experts of the MEDSEA Foundation, on behalf of the Coordination Group, discuss in 9 meetings and over 20 hours of listening of all the institutional, economic, cultural and environmental forces operating in the Gulf of Oristano. The potential of the Contract was explained, and useful proposals to make it an articulated and efficient system of territorial administration were collected.

The Plenary Assembly of December 13th, held online, gathered representatives from the world of the productive sectors of agriculture, fishing, tourism and associations. It also saw the participation of the institutional signatories of the Contract: the eleven mayors of the municipalities involved, the Province of Oristano, the Oristanese Reclamation Consortium and the secretary of the Environmental Defense Ministry of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, Gianni Lampis.

It was the Lampis himself who started the discussion, expressing appreciation for the path taken since February 5, date of the official signing of the Contract, and opening up to new, important developments: "Everything that we have included in the Coastal Contract will be implemented with the contribution of the municipalities. But there are investments that the Region of Sardinia also wants to support in the development of these areas. I’m addressing in particular the project to create a Regional Park as a tool for an integrated and efficient management of the Natura 2000 areas of the Oristano area, an idea that the Ministry of Environmental Defense has fully embraced and that will find financial backup in a forthcoming deliberative act. On my proposal, a loan will be transferred to the coordinating municipality for the animation activities that must be carried out within all the communities to share with citizens, stakeholders and companies, what may be the implications and positive aspects of a regional park".

The great opportunity represented by the regional park as a tool for the integrated management of the network of Natura 2000 areas was also highlighted by the other stakeholders present at the plenary meeting: "Our territory is characterized by inability to transform resources into products”, said Maria Roberta Sanna, owner of the Mistral I and Mistral II hotels in Oristano. She added: "Travelers who visit the Gulf of Oristano complain about the absence of a system that makes environment, culture and tourism parts of the same system. We hope that the park will created in the shortest possible time". Of the same advice Maurizio Porcu, of Alea Ricerca & Ambiente, who lamented the degradation in which wetlands are sometimes found, a neglect fueled by a relationship with nature that must be rebuilt. The president of the LIPU of Oristano, Gabriele Pinna, underlined how the park should play an important role in the protection of avian species. Confirming the analysis of Sanna and Porcu, the ornithologist thinks that the park can also positively influence the approach to tourism, making it more aware of the extraordinary importance that the six Ramsar sites of Oristano represent in terms of wildlife.

Mauro Steri, head of LegaCoop Sardegna for the fishing activities, recalled the importance of his sector in 5 of the six Ramsar sites involved in the Contract: 30 companies and 400 workers. The solution of a single management entity has also been discussed several times in the past by Legacoop. On the proposal of a regional park, he hopes for "the active participation of the sector in the drafting of the regulation", as well as a "fair representation based on real numbers within the park community, and the presence of a technical and scientific council". According to Steri, the time has come to enter into the real issues of the proposed solution, in order to understand "what this unique entity will manage and what it can actually do".

For Paolo Mele, president of Confagricoltura Sardegna, the creation of the park is “desirable”. Mele, founder and director of "Sa Marigosa", a historic company engaged in the agricultural production sector, sees in the Coastal Agreement as place for discussion and synthesis that can simplify the bureaucratic processes, often a burden to the entrepreneurs' initiatives, especially when they want innovation to intercept the environmental need.

For Sandro Pili, Mayor of Terralba and coordinator of the municipalities that take part to the Coastal Contract: “The very existence of this assembly is a success. The Contract is a place for dialogue, conflict resolution and planning. Now we just have to move forward with determination” said Pili. The signatories institutions will meet in early January to decide about the next steps of the action plan. For Alessio Satta, president of the MEDSEA Foundation, "the very existence of this assembly demonstrates the power of dialogue". Satta traces back the path to date: "The Maristanis project has been at work for four years to favor the birth of a renewed harmony between humans and environment in the Gulf of Oristano, to protect the immense value of natural assets from the threats of climate change. We have been always respectful of the demands that dwell in the communities, of identity, traditions, of the work that we want to enhance through an unprecedented path of sustainability.

A future, the one we imagined, which can only be built by the converging forces of the people who inhabit these places, who are these places. The Coastal Contract, carried out during the very difficult pandemic season, today is a fact. The Assembly is working, and so is the listening itinerary, though which we are enriched every day with the intelligence coming from the territory. The Contract is the place where the needs of the environment, fishing, agriculture, tourism and research meet, the occasion in which past and present differences can find a shared articulation, a common project. The park, with its community, with the representation of all private actors and civil society, would be the beginning of this future, the continuation of a long dialogue. We are extremely happy that the Sardinian Regional Government has decided to promote this path that can become a reference model for the rest of the coastal areas of Sardinia and the Mediterranean basin".

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