The State of Israel has many resources in the Mediterranean Sea area, and therefore many opportunities to explore. However, in the last few decades threats to the state’s marine and coastal environment have increased. These threats include those from various uses such as oil and gas exploration, marine transportation, pollution from land sources, proliferation of invasive species etc.
In the past, the Israeli institutions for planning and development, as well as Environmental NGOs (ENGOs) have focused on the use and the protection of terrestrial resources, while caring for the marine environment, and specifically the Israeli Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were left out. A national policy for marine use has not yet been developed and a comprehensive and science-based planning framework is lacking.
With the growing interest of public, governmental institutions, stakeholders in the utilization of the different resources and the demands of their development, the launching of a process that will balance the many interests and points of view that have to do with marine uses is necessary. Experience from other parts of the world shows that such a process will significantly contribute to responsible decision-making in regard to Israel’s territorial waters and its potential EEZ.
The Technion’s Israel Marine Plan will attempt to address these issues for the benefit of the country and the entire region. Our hope is that this endeavor will improve the existing situation of marine planning and policy, and will lead to the viable development and management of marine resources for generations to come.
The Technion, through its Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, has begun developing a marine plan for Israel. The preparation of such a plan is expected to continue for approximately two and a half year and is meant to promote a balanced and comprehensive policy for guarding and developing the territorial waters and EEZ of Israel in the Mediterranean.
Prof. Shamay Asif and Assistant Prof. Michelle Portman head the team. The team itself is comprised of graduate students and research fellows, as well as professional consultants. Other stakeholders from the government and public sphere, from academia, from professional organizations and from the private sector also advise the team. Additionally, an international advisory board accompanies the project as it progresses. Ethos consulting company serves as project manager.
The Israel Marine Plan will be developed with full cooperation and coordination with other parallel efforts or initiatives addressing marine uses that are currently taking place or that will take place in the foreseeable future.