From 25 to 29 May 1998 the international conference "Education and Training in Integrated Coastal Area Management: The Mediterranean Prospect" was held in Genoa, Italy under the scientific co-ordination of A. Vallega, Vice-President of the International Geographical Union (IGU).
The conference was co-organised by the International Centre for Coastal and Ocean Policy Studies (ICCOPS), UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and the International Centre for Science and High Technology (UNIDO/ICS). Special scientific collaboration was provided by IGU in connection with its 1996-2000 "Oceans" programme on coastal and ocean education, co-ordinated by A. Vallega.
The Conference was sponsored by the European Commission, DG XII, Science and Technology, Programmes Environment and Climate and Marine Science and Technology (MAST).
The Conference addressed inter-governmental organizations, national governments, universities and NGOs, following the new political and social recognition of the concept of integrated coastal management. It acknowledged that conceptual and methodological advancements in coastal management research, jointly with the proliferation of integrated coastal management programmes, entail a new demand for consistent educational and training programmes adaptable to a wide variety of coastal conditions. Therefore, it called for an increased co-operation between all actors aimed at establishing courses in integrated coastal management based on the concept of sustainable development and expressed in the recommendations of Agenda 21. In operational terms, the Conference promoted the development of professional skills able to investigate and manage the coastal systems in a more holistic way. The creation of such professional skills will require inter-disciplinary approaches that go beyond the simple assembling of the knowledge coming from different disciplines.
To enhance the role of science, interaction between research and education needs to be optimised, to provide conceptual and methodological approaches, analysis of significant case studies, and scientific and professional skills to put scientific progress in practice.