Coastal Zone Management (ICZM):

Definition and

The coastal zone is an extremely complex social-ecological system
that varies in relation to its environmental, socio-economic, cultural and
governance factors. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) seeks to develop
an integrated model for sustainable development that is based on finding points
of convergence among these factors (Diedrich et al., 2010).


There are a number of definitions of ICZM in the wider academic and
policy literatures. For present purposes a useful starting point is that
provided by the ICZM Protocol which views it as: “…a dynamic
process for the sustainable management and use of coastal zones, taking into
account at the same time the fragility of coastal ecosystems and landscapes,
the diversity of activities and uses, their interactions, the maritime
orientation of certain activities and uses and their impact on both the marine
and land parts.”

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Cicin?Sain and Belfiore,2005 provide a more detailed account of the evolution of the concept,
tracing its lineage from Rio through to the more contemporary expressions of
the ideas in the EC
document (Towards a European Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
Strategy, 2000), They argue that while the broad concept continues
to evolve, we can now recognise an international model or set of principles that
enjoys wide acceptance. Others, however, (McKenna et al., 2008) offered a critique of the
tensions between the different elements of the concept. Thus, while there is a
considerable body of experience in its application extending over three decades
(Henocque, 2003),
it has been suggested by (O’Hagan
and Ballinger, 2009) that more case studies describing the successful
application of the idea are needed and further conceptual analysis is still probably


The Principles set out in the EC document on ICZM formed the basis
of the 2000 Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European
Parliament on Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Strategy for Europe. Six
overarching ideas for ICZM were initially proposed, namely that it should take
a wide ranging perspective, that is should build on an understanding of
specific conditions in the area of interest, that it should work with
natural processes, use participatory processes, work to ensure the support and
involvement of all relevant administrative bodies, and use a combination of
instruments and approaches. In the subsequent Communication from the
Commission, the six themes of the Strategy became ten, with the idea about
taking a wide ranging perspective being split to emphasise the need to consider
on the one hand spatial and thematic issues, and on the other the temporal


The ten principles proposed in the ICZM Protocol as listed below
with taking in consideration the strategic planning and ecosystem approaches:



seeks to take account of the wealth of natural capital in coastal zones
represented by ecosystems and the output of ecosystem services that depend on
the complementary and interdependent nature of marine and terrestrial systems.
Thus policy makers and managers should consider the effects of their actions
and activities on those social, economic and environmental systems that affect
the coastal zone or are affected by processes within it or out of it, by
considering the cross?sectoral implications of all plans and policies.


elements relating to hydrological, geomorphological, climatic, ecological,
socio?economic and
cultural systems shall be taken into account in an integrated manner and in a
perspective, so as not to exceed the carrying capacity of the coastal zone and
to prevent the negative effects of natural disasters and of development.
Policies and plans in the coastal zone should therefore ensure that ecosystems
are managed within the limits of their functioning.


ecosystem approach to coastal planning and management should be designed to
ensure the sustainable development of coastal zones. This implied that not only
should ecosystems be managed within the limits of their functioning, but also
that full account is taken of the varying temporal scales and lag?effects that
characterize ecosystem processes. As a result, ICZM should look to the long
term so that sustainable development can be achieved.


governance allowing adequate and timely participation in a transparent and well
informed decision?making process by local populations and stakeholders in civil
society concerned with coastal zones shall be ensured. In doing so ICZM
recognises that the management of land, water and living resources is a matter
of societal choice. This will require that all relevant sectors of society and
scientific disciplines should be involved in framing the options, and that all
forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local
knowledge, innovations and practices be taken into account. In particular the
way different groups value ecosystem services should be understood.


the requirement for cross?sectoral management approaches in the coastal zone, the
institutions dealing with social, economic and environmental issues must
themselves be organised to ways that allow integrated approaches to the
development. This will require that appropriate institutional capacity be built
and that decision makers should be competent in using all the forms of evidence
that needs to be taken into account.


formulation of land use strategies, plans and programmes covering urban
development and socio?economic activities, as well as other relevant sectoral policies
are needed for successful ICZM. However, their impacts need to be assessment,
and the implications considered in terms of the trade?offs between
the natural, economic, social and cultural capitals.


is essentially place?based and should take account of geographical context. In particular,
it must recognise and communicate the particular qualities, characteristics and
opportunities in the coastal zone that arise from the proximity of land and
sea, and take steps to protect and sustain them. Thus management should be
decentralized to the lowest appropriate level to ensure that management or
policy goals are understood and owned by those who affect their implementation
and success.


allocation of uses throughout the entire coastal zone should be balanced.
Moreover the coastal developments need to be balanced with related processes in
the coastal hinterland.


assessments shall be made of the risks associated with the various human
activities and infrastructure so as to prevent and reduce their negative impact
on coastal zones. Although such risk assessments should take account of the
limits of ecosystem function, assessment must also recognise that change is
inevitable, and so must be updated by periodic assessments in the light of
changing circumstances. ICZM must be framed as an adaptive process.


to the coastal environment shall be prevented and, where it occurs, appropriate
restoration shall be effected.



The Ecosystem
Approach (EsA) and IZCM:

Much of the recent interest in the Ecosystem Approach (EsA) can be traced
back to the influence of the Convention
for Biological Diversity (CBD), 1995, which adopted it as the ‘primary
framework’ for action (Shepherd,
2004). Under the convention, the Approach is the basis for considering
all the goods and services provided to people by biodiversity and ecosystems (Secretariat of the Convention
for Biological Diversity, 2000). According to the CBD, the EsA:

“….places human needs at the centre of biodiversity management. It
aims to manage the ecosystem, based on the multiple functions that ecosystems
perform and the multiple uses that are made of these functions. The ecosystem
approach does not aim for short term economic gains, but aims to optimize the
use of an ecosystem without damaging it ”




ICZM processes:

The over?concern with the principles of ‘ecosystem?based
management’ as they apply
to the coastal zone might lead to an additional aspect to both of them, being
overlooked, namely that these ideas also need to be considered from a process
perspective. That is they are as much about designing management
and governance processes as they are in helping us set the objectives
that that current or future management and governance structures might deliver.


There are a number of case studies and other initiatives from which
useful lessons can be drawn. For example, The Monitoring Assessment Programme
and United Nations Environmental Programme (MAP/UNEP) has undertaken to implement
an Ecosystem-based Approach at the regional scale of the Mediterranean, as a
strategy for the comprehensive and integrated management of human activities
affecting the coastal regions ecosystem based on the best available scientific

Other case studies and reviews include the study about Balancing science
and society through establishing indicators for integrated coastal zone
management in the Balearic Islands, Spain, the researchers explored by (Diedrich et al., 2010),
the study showed the process by which indicators may be developed as tools for
communicating science to decision-makers using the participatory approach
demonstrated by the Balearic Indicators and the initiative reflects a series of
compromises considered necessary to achieve the objective of generating an
indicator system that is scientifically viable, comparative internationally yet
locally relevant, and to facilitate its implementation, the research highlights
questions regarding the utility of science for addressing current global issues
related to sustainability and why science often fails to promote change at the
societal level. Other study by (Hills et al., 2009),  about  Landscape scale analysis of ecosystem risk
and returns as a  new tool for ICZM, the
authors emphasized that  integrated
management requires landscape-level analysis of all ecosystem values and how it
can be useful in terms of setting ICZM priorities and in addressing local
coastal issues.


The importance of the process perspective on ICZM has
recently been emphasised in the Final Report of Short and Medium ?Term Priority Action
Programme SMAPIII/UNEP Project, 2013. (The Way
Forward for the Mediterranean Coast), and more generally in the UNEP
Publication on Ecosystem?based Management, 2007 –
2013. Both seek to provide a way of understanding sustainable development
as a sequence of ‘tangible levels of achievement’ that can both be planed for
and used to monitor progress. Thus both publications use the term ‘Orders
of Outcome’ framework as a tool for assessing progress towards
sustainable and integrated coastal zones management and development. Four
different orders of outcome are listed and it is useful to reflect upon them in
the light of the ICZM principles as described below and summarized in (Figure):


ORDER outcomes involve creating a the
right ‘enabling conditions’ for sustainable development to occur, and can
include the setting down of principles of the ICZM, and the alignment of
institutional structures, priorities and funding streams to the goals
represented by these agreements.


ORDER outcomes concern achieving
behaviour change, presenting the involved training and awareness?raising, as
well as research. However, the behaviour change can only be achieved if it is
underpinned by a social learning process that must involve including those
training and capacity building activities in the context of a reflective phase
of piloting and testing. All ecosystem?based approaches are fundamentally adaptive in their character, and
involve an important element of learning by doing or ‘community learning’. It
therefore also include elements of problem focused ‘action research’ and trans?disciplinarily.


ORDER outcomes involve ‘achieving
results’. The Cases should perhaps be viewed as open?air laboratories
in which the ICZM principles and processes are tested even only partially.


ORDER outcomes involve ‘achieving
sustainability’, and clearly involve achieving full integrated policy and
management approaches and lasting institutional reform. The outcomes from this
work must set an agenda for the kinds of long?term change that are required to
transform the particular examples of best?practice and success at the research level to a more general
patterns of activities.



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