The kick-off meeting of the INTERREG MED CO-EVOLVE project – led by the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace – took place in Komotini (Greece) on 12-13 January.

1-(13)_CO-EVOLVE 1The partners involved in CO-EVOLVE (Promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems for the development of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism) project – including the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission (IMC) – gathered in Greece for the official launch of the project.

CO-EVOLVE is an INTERREG MED 2016 modular project developed under the programme’s priority axis 3 (natural and cultural resources) and specific objective 3.1 (sustainable tourism). It aims to analyse and promote the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems in touristic coastal areas, allowing for the sustainable development of touristic activities, based on the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management/Maritime Spatial Planning.

CO-EVOLVE recognises that a key challenge for sustainable coastal and maritime tourism development is the strengthening of cooperation among regions and the joint development and transferring of approaches, tools, guidelines and best practices.

It brings together an analysis at MED scale of threats and enabling factors for sustainable tourism with local studies on seven representative Pilot Areas. The aim is to demonstrate through pilot actions the feasibility and effectiveness of an ICZM/MSP-based planning process.

As an M1 + M2 modular project, CO-EVOLVE will be divided into two phases: studying, which consists in analysing and defining the state of the art at MED and pilot area scale and testing, during which instruments, policies, strategies and joint plans already identified in M1 through pilot activities will be tested in order to set up solutions applicable to a wider set of users and territories.

1-(13)_co-evolve2Michael Amiridis and Konstantinos Exakoustos, Regional Councillors of East Macedonia and Thrace Region, on behalf of Regional Governor Christos Metios, welcomed the participants affirming the strategic importance of CO-EVOLVE’s results for improving the planning of sustainable touristic activities in his Region as well in the rest of the Mediterranean.

During the Kick-off meeting, partners discussed the overall organisation of the project as well as the specific content of each work package.

Four IMC member Regions are directly involved in the project. Two participate in the project as full partners i.e. the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace (lead partner) and the Emilia-Romagna Region, and play a vital role in the development of the project’s activities; two other Regions i.e. Veneto and Crete participate are associated partners.

CO-EVOLVE also involves other institutional and technical partners, including Croatia’s Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), the universities of Thessaly and Venice, the Dubrovnik Neretva Regional Development Agency, the Veneto Region’s Po Delta Park, the Public Institution for Coordination and Development of Split Dalmatia County, the Port Institute for Studies and Cooperation of the Valencia Region (FEPORTS) and the Italian National Research Council – Institute of Marine Sciences.

The IMC – which is a full project partner – is in charge of coordinating work package 2 on communication and will be strongly involved in the project’s capitalisation activities. The main objectives of this work package are to increase awareness and knowledge on the common needs, tools and services concerning a joint strategy for integrated MSP & ICZM, create a multiplier effect at territory and transnational level on the project outcomes and solutions and ensure the coordination with communication and capitalisation activities of the 3.1 Horizontal Project, i.e. BleuTourMed.

Logo_CO-EVOLVEYou can follow the project on Twitter at @CoEVOLVEmed.

For more information about the CO-EVOLVE project, please contact Maria Hamitidou, Region of East Macedonia and Thrace (

More information about the Interreg MED programme is available here: