Integrated Coastal Zone Management: A Short Introduction
Integrated coastal management (ICM) is "a dynamic, continuous and iterative process supporting decisions for a sustainable use, development and protection of coastal areas and its resources" (EC, 1999).
ICM attempts to find a sustainable balance between human societies and the quality of coastal environments. The major goal of ICM is therefore “to improve the quality of life of human communities who depend on coastal resources while maintaining the biological diversity and productivity of coastal ecosystems” (GESAMP, 1996). To achieve this the process has to integrate government and community, science and management as well as public and sectoral interests.
The process of ICM can be described as a cycle (Fig. 1), similar to other institutional endeavours, beginning with the analysis of the issues of the coastal zone in question, identifying the existing conditions and consulting key stakeholders, followed by setting objectives and preparing a plan of policies and action. The next step embraces the adoption of a formal management plan and securing adequate funding for implementation of first actions. After that the planned procedures and actions are made operational. This may include public meetings, enforcement procedures, and conflict resolution as well as construction of infrastructure, strengthening of institutions and the dissemination of appropriate forms of resource use. In the last step, which is the formal evaluation, the results of the whole process are compared with the desired outcomes and adjustments to the governance process are selected.
Many parties and institutions, such as government officials and policy-makers on different levels, NGOs, small-scale businesses and local residents, can be involved in the process. The participation of national authorities and institutions should be particularly valuable. Over all it is essential that ICM integrates partners from different policy sectors as well as different policy levels.
European Commission. 1999. Towards a European Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Strategy, Brussels: Directorates General: Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection; Fisheries; Regional policies and Cohesion.
GESAMP (IMO/FAO//UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection), 1996. The Contributions of Science to Integrated Coastal Management. GESAMP Reports and Studies No. 61.
Olsen, S., Tobey, J., Kerr, M., 1997. A common framework for learning from ICM experiences. Ocean & Coastal Management 37(2): 155-174.