Interview with Mr Erdal ÖZHAN, President of MEDCOAST



The Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory took advantage of the presence of Mr Erdal ÖZHAN, President, member of the Board of Trustees & Board of Directors of MEDCOAST, in Arles, France in last November on the occasion of the PEGASO project workshop on Integrated Coastal Management, to interview him on this particular subject and the situation in Turkey.

Since the implementation of ICZM, what tools are being tested or implemented in your country?

In Turkey we built a lot of efforts for  the development of the ICZM since the beginning of the 90’s, but mostly by non-governmental institutions.  Implementation of ICZM by governmental agencies is yet to be initiated..


Mainly because there are many institutions having interest in our coastal areas and there are numerous uses of the coastal zone.   Furthermore, Turkey has lengthy coastal zone with many specificities.  Finally, the administrative system of Turkey is still very much centralized.  Capabilities of the regional and local administrations is not sufficient for implementing coastal management.
What are the main challenges that the ICZM protocol is actually facing? What changes are expected in the practice of planning, management and use of coastal areas in Turkey?

The ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean brings a detailed framework for the Mediterranean countries to adopt.  In Turkey, it will be necessary to bring new legislation and institutional arrangements  for the integration of management and participation of different actors.

In terms of partnership, how do you see things between organisations working in the field of marine / coastal areas and those working upstream (inland / watershed)?

Not yet a strong collaboration! There is a real challenge to integrate the watershed management and  ICZM , because most of the problems encountered downstream of the watersheds are due to human activities  upstream  (like water management and pollution or sediment extraction).  There are however a few examples of a good collaboration like the fresh water wetland restoration program in the Province of Bursa.

How MWO could be useful in this dynamic ICZM in your country?

Coastal wetlands are very important ecosystems for many reasons. Yes! The MWO can be very useful , because it can provide  information and professional support for better managing the wetlands in the coastal zone. As it is always expected: better information and knowledge leads to better management.

Finally, I would like to say also that wetlands could provide a lot of benefits to the local populations, and a part of this benefits should be returned to management of wetlands.

For more information: Pr.  Erdal ÖZHAN,