The twelfth biennial MEDCOAST conference in Varna marks the 25th year since the birth of the MEDCOAST ideal. Many devoted colleagues and friends have eagerly provided their valuable time and energy for years towards protection and better management of coastal and marine areas in general and those of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in particular. Since the first conference in 1993 (Antalya, Turkey), the MEDCOAST conference series on the Mediterranean Coastal Environment has moved around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, visiting Taragona (Spain), Qawra (Malta), Antalya (Turkey), Ravenna (Italy), Kusadasi (Turkey), Alexandria (Egypt), Sochi (Russia), Rhodes (Greece), Marmaris (Turkey) and with this event Varna (Bulgaria). The conference has been organized in every odd numbered year, regularly in the months of either October or November.
The past eleven events of the biennial MEDCOAST conference series produced 27 volumes of proceedings totalling over 17 000 pages, which constitute a very important source of information for coastal and marine science and management issues. Proceedings of MEDCOAST conferences are covered by the major indexing schemes such as ISI Thomson, Scopus and Compendex.
The twelfth conference in Varna will be the second event to be organised on the shores of the Black Sea. This happens to be at a time when the European Union is keenly interested in facilitating programs for the Black Sea in the fields of Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). Therefore, the Varna conference will provide an excellent opportunity for discussing national and regional efforts and capabilities that already exist in these and related fields as well as the future needs and directions. The meeting will also be a good occasion for networking and collaboration initiatives for the Black Sea.
Similar to the past eleven events, the technical program of the Varna conference will include an opening and keynote session, thematic parallel sessions for oral presentations, several special sessions, a poster session and the closing session, in which the Varna Declaration will be discussed and endorsed by the participants and the best poster winners will be announced and given prizes.
The Varna conference will also have a rich social program including welcome cocktails, half-day cultural tour, a Bulgarian cultural night, conference banquet and a full-day technical trip to interesting sites along the attractive Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
We expect that MEDCOAST 15 international conference, organized at an attractive corner of the Black Sea, enhanced by the charms of the historic town of Varna and environs, enjoying the rich culture and warm hospitality of the Bulgarian people, will serve as a reference event for coastal and marine management in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and in other coastal and marine areas of the world. We are confident to have another very successful and enjoyable conference in Varna in early October!