Winter 2003

Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Article compiled by Graham Lymbery

Many of Europe's coastal zones face problems of deterioration of their environmental, socio-economic and cultural resources. Since 1996, the European Commission has been working to identify and promote measures to remedy this deterioration and to improve the overall situation in our coastal zones. These measures are know as Integrated Coastal Zone management (ICZM) which is a process that brings together all those involved in the development, management and use of the coast within a framework that facilitates the integration of their interests and responsibilities. The objective is to establish sustainable levels of economic and social activity in our coastal areas while protecting the coastal environment.

In 2000, based on the experiences and outputs of a Demonstration Programme the Commission adopted two documents:

  • A Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on "Integrated Coastal Zone Management: A Strategy for Europe" (COM/00/547 of 17 Sept. 2000)

  • A proposal for a European Parliament and Council Recommendation concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe (COM/00/545 of 8 Sept. 2000). This Recommendation was adopted by Council and Parliament on 30 May 2002.

    The principles of integrated coastal zone management are set out as:

  • taking a long term view
  • a broad holistic approach
  • adaptive management
  • working with natural processes
  • support and involvement of all relevant administrative bodies
  • use of a combination of instruments
  • participatory planning
  • reflecting local characteristics

    Member States should report back to the Commission on their experience in implementing the recommendation 45 months after its adoption. These reports will include the results of a national stocktaking exercise of legislation, institutions and stakeholders involved in the management of the coastal zone (where we are now), a proposed national level strategy to deliver ICZM, how the strategy will be implemented and its expected results.

    The principles in this proposal are already part of the UK's approach to coastal policy and the UK Government welcomes the Recommendation as providing fresh impetus to delivering effective coastal management in Europe.

    A copy of the EU Recommendation can be found via
    Also see
    If you would like a more regional perspective go to

    Compiled by Graham Lymbery using material from the above sites.