The Coast Contract, Maristanis celebrates a collective agreement for the integrated governance of wetlands.

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An agreement to make the territories that surround the Gulf of Oristano a model for a collective management of wetlands. As a climax of the Coast Day 2019, in the placid scenario of the Garden Museum of S. Vero Milis, the mayors of the municipalities involved in the Maristanis project, Terralba, Guspini, Arbus, Santa Giusta, Oristano, Arborea, Palmas Arborea, Cabras, Riola Sardo and San Vero Milis, signed the declaration of intent preliminary to the start of the process that will lead to the definitive signing of the “Coast Contract”.

The Coast Contract is a participatory and voluntary process through which it will be possible to put in communication, starting from the privileged look of those who live in the territories, all the bodies responsible for the protection and development of the environmental resources. Piera Pala, environmental lawyer of the MEDSEA Foundation, explains: "The contract is a legal instrument that enables us to overcome the fragmentation of skills through the co-management of the coastal wetlands. All subjects, both public and private, will be involved, and a consequent redistribution of responsibilities in territorial management will spontaneously follow. The contract is also a method that allows people to interact with a complex system made up of common strategies and clear interventions, capable of preserving the specificity of a single municipality in an integrated context".

The process will take tangible form with the birth of the Coast Assembly, a body of public participation extended to the whole territory. All representatives of public and private organizations, as well as individual citizens, will have their seat. A democratic decision-making process, says Gianluca Melis, environmental engineer of the MEDSEA foundation, “capable to overcome the traditional dispersion of jurisdictions and expertise. A very important problem if we consider the complexity and the time horizon of changes related to climate change, to which the contract can reply with efficiency. Medium and long term objectives can be addressed with a fair distribution of management burdens. Implementation and outcomes of the strategy will be constantly monitored”.

Silvia Doneddu, a MEDSEA sociologist who followed for one year and a half the long participatory process that led to the signing, underlines how the Coast Contract will make mayors protagonists in two fundamental stages of the integrated management: "On the one hand, they will participate in a dynamic evaluation and discussion on the needs of places and communities, based on integrated and shared tools for sustainable management of wetlands. On the other hand, they will take part in co-planning the actions and activities that Maristanis has started in collaboration with public and private subjects to support an organic territorial vision, characterized by a direct approach to economic-ecological sustainability, and by the enhancement of the communities’ knowledge that dwells in the gulf. I find that the ‘twine’ is the most appropriate metaphor we can adopt to describe a relationship that was born and grows in Maristanis", concludes Doneddu, referring to the inauguration, a few hours earlier, of the first Ramsar house in Sardinia, dedicated in San Vero Milis to the ancient art of weaving marsh plants in the shape of baskets, pots and pans. The "Museum of weaving" is an example of how a millennial tradition in decline can be relaunched by involving the population and local institutions in an organic system of social resilience that preserves work and identity while restoring a very important ecosystem in its function of contrasting climate change.

"The Coast Contract is undoubtedly a very important goal reached by the Maristanis Project. We have been able to begin the path that will guide all the subjects directly responsible for the institutionally protected territories in the Gulf of Oristano, the Special Protection Areas, the Sites of Community Importance and the Ramsar sites, in expressing themselves and acting according to shared strategies and practices", states the president of the MEDSEA Foundation Alessio Satta, who adds: "We need solutions that come from below, which growing from the sensitivity of the populations is articulated in a dialectic capable of involving all administrative levels. Only in this way, together, will we be able to answer with clarity and efficiency to the challenges that contemporary life brings to the environment”.