Program: Interreg EURO-MED

Lead Partner: 1. Region of Western Greece

Other Project Partners:

  1. Regional Development Agency Dubrovnik – Neretva Country (DUNEA)
  2. Department of Architecture – Roma Tre University (UNIROMA3)
  3. Andalusian Federation of Towns and Provinces – (FAMP)
  4. Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania – (INCA)
  5. Office of the Prime Minister of Herzegovina – Neretva Canton Government (HNC)
  6. SUBMON – Conservation for Marine Biodiversity
  7. SUSDEF – Sustainable Development Foundation
  8. Nature Trust Malta – (NTM)

Associated Partners:

  1. University of Patras
  2. The Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County
  3. XIII Mountain Community of Lepini Ausoni Mountains
  4. Nijar municipality
  5. Perfecture Shkodër, Municipality of Neum
  6. Domus De Maria Municipality
  7. MUV Ltd

Project Duration: 1 st of January 2024 till the 31 st of August 2026

Project budget: 2,420,503,00 EUR


COASTRUST: Project Overview

The Mediterranean basin is considered amongst the most important biodiversity hotspots globally in terms of ecosystem and species richness. Human related activities, such as the most impactful; Overfishing (48%), Habitat destruction (26%) and Pollution (13%), have put significant pressures on nature, and is thus resulting in ecosystem degradation and alarmingly rapid species loss across the med. Anthropogenic activities paired with Climate Change has led to an urgency for immediate intervention at a co-ordinated transnational approach.

The COASTRUST project addresses small-scale strategies promoting sustainable use, management, protection/restoration of species, habitats/ecosystems, made possible with the involvement of local-level citizens and stakeholders from related economic sectors, all in accordance with the European political framework that promotes a voluntary participatory approach.

The project focuses on an environmental stewardship as a voluntary multistakeholder governance mechanism at a community level, that supports the management of natural, cultural and landscape values on land and sea. It includes the participation of 9 project partners and a total of 7 participating countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain.

This marine stewardship will be piloted in different target areas, varied coastal habitats in the aforementioned countries, all of which requiring unique methodology and a series of activities to operate strategically, according to their individual environmental and stakeholder needs. It applies environmental management in areas heavily influenced by anthropogenic pressures, resulting in the establishment of multi-stakeholder management mechanisms. Protected areas are an important conservation tool, yet their success and effectiveness may be compromised by lack of engagement and poor policy. This management tool facilitates collaboration and efficient harmonization across nations towards promoting biodiversity. Ultimately, the aim is also to openly share the COASTRUST approach and pilot methodologies beyond the scope of the project, aiming to benefit other Mediterranean citizens in reaching common environmental goals.

Our role

Nature Trust Malta at the Ċirkewwa Marine Park

Nature Trust Malta is a non-profit, non-governmental, environmental organization working in the Maltese Islands, as well as a privileged partner of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The organisation is carrying out many environmental projects in Malta such as afforestation, habitat conservation and the creation of marine protected areas, all of which are aimed to help conserve the Maltese natural heritage. The COASTRUST project presents an important opportunity for the Trust to work in collaboration with different partners addressing the involvement of different stakeholders, to further encourage ownership and responsibility by the community at large for the well-being and conservation of our coastal natural heritage.

Nature Trust manages a marine park and several land-coastal conservation sites, and therefore it has a direct interest in the objectives of the project, especially given the small size of Malta and the resulting closeness and pressures exerted on natural heritage by economic activities. The Trust expects to benefit from the project’s focus on the environmental principles and governance models at community level as applied to environmental stewardship. Nature Trust shall capitalize on its experience and participation in relevant projects, as well as its long-standing expertise in the organisation of environmental education activities. The Trust is particularly active in environmental education through diverse methodologies and media. It shall therefore provide its expertise and contribute to capacity building of partners and stakeholders. It will also contribute its practical expertise and knowledge of stewardship agreements and the practical implementation of conservation actions.

The trust will develop the mapping activities in the local pilot area of Ċirkewwa Marine Park, on the Northwest-most point of the island of Malta, based on experience gained in the management of the area, and on the associated in-depth knowledge of the needs, availability, and potential of the necessary resources, as well as the identification and classification of stakeholders and their relative levels of interest and influence. It will participate in activities contributing to the development of lessons learned from the pilot activities, as well as to the networks for dissemination of project results. It will promote the participation of stakeholders beyond the duration of the project, and continued involvement of the partners.

Tugboat Rożi

Tugboat Rożi (David Agius).

Patrol Boat P29

Patrol Boat P29 (Arkadiusz Srebnik at Poland Diving Photo).