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MED-CORE Informe resumido

Project ID: ICA3-CT-2002-10003
Financiado con arreglo a: FP5-INCO 2
País: Egypt

Socioeconomic conditions in coastal areas: A comparative analysis

Coastal areas, at the global level, hold a major proportion of population and economic activities, which depend mostly on the environment and its natural resources such as agriculture, fishing, tourism and industry. Such conditions reflect the importance of coastal areas and their natural resources to the welfare of the communities living in these areas.

Human activities, meanwhile, usually involve a wide range of negative impacts on the environment, especially if these activities were either unplanned or exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment. This meant increasing the pressures on the environment and natural resources and thus threatening the chances of attaining sustainable development in these areas.

Such conditions, accordingly, require proper management of the coastal areas that integrates human activities within a coherent setting of planning policies that address environmental carrying capacity. For such management to be effective, proper and in-depth study of various socioeconomic, as well as environmental conditions, prevailing in coastal areas need to be undertaken in an integrated manner.

It is usually argued that great similarities do exist between different coastal areas of the Mediterranean region, not only in terms of environmental conditions, but also socioeconomic conditions. Such similarities, and despite possible differences, have promoted calls for developing a common guidelines for coastal zone management in the region.

This paper intends to conduct a comparative analysis of socioeconomic conditions in two southern Mediterranean sites; namely Rosetta area (Egypt) and Oued Laou area (Morocco). This analysis intends to pinpoint the main similarities as well as differences between both sites, in order to assess the potential for setting broad guidelines to attain sustainable development in the Mediterranean region in general.
The work conducted in the two sites, which involved significant field work, showed that great similarities in terms of socioeconomic conditions in the two sites do exist.

The study also found that deteriorating environmental conditions have adversely affected those communities, especially the poor, and the vicious circle between environmental deterioration and poverty does exist. Such conditions, meanwhile, require substantial development efforts that take into account environmental consideration.

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