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Environment Policy

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Integrated development of coastal areas

Sustainable development of the European coast


Official title

"Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the integrated development of coastal areas (COM (95) 511)".


Legal references

  • "European Coast Charter" (Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Peripheral Maritime Regions of the European Community, 1981).

  • "Integrated Development of Coastal Areas: its place in Community environmental policy" (COM (86) 571).

  • "Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the integrated development of coastal areas (COM (95) 511)".



This programme aims to highlight the conditions of better integration of national and European policies with a view to sustainable development of the European coast.

Two phases of the programme:

    1.Set up a demonstration programme to show what practical conditions must be met if sustainable development is to be achieved in the European Coastal Zones in all their diversity. It tests co-operation instruments and mechanisms for the integrated management of coastal zones and provides the technical results needed to devise the projects to be set up. This programme shows the environmental benefits and also the economic and social benefits of this collaboration. Coastal regions of low economic level facing the challenge of successful sustainable development should find the lessons of this programme of particular interest;

    2.Establish structured dialogues and stimulate exchange of information between the European institutions and all the players with a stake in the development of coastal areas.


Target public / beneficiaries

Various beneficiaries at the local/regional, inter-regional, national, European/transnational levels, according to the tasks required to develop coastal areas.



Operators concerned by the development of coastal areas (European institutions, Member States, associations of regions, intermunicipal associations, non-governmental associations, etc.).

The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Demonstration Programme is a joint initiative of Directorate Generals XI (Environment), XIV (Fisheries) and XVI (Regional Policy and Cohesion).

The European Environment Agency and the Community Research and Technological Development Programme (DGXII), as well as the Joint Research Centre provide scientific support for the demonstration programme.



The demonstration programme consists of three main stages:

  • Preparatory Stage (due to be completed by end of 1996)
  • Operational Phase (throughout 1997 and 1998)
  • Evaluation of results and definition of follow-ups (1999)


Eligible measures / nature of activities

The programme is based on 35 demonstration projects representative of the diversity of the situations of the European coast (urban/industrial; intensive tourism; nature/rural/fisheries) and brings together partners having extensive experience in information and consultation e.g. LIFE – Environment (see factsheet P.10.1.2) and TERRA (see factsheet P.2.1.5) programmes.

The demonstration projects, grouped by the geographical area of the Interreg IIC programmes, are supplementing the local and regional dimensions with a transnational dimension (see factsheet "Interreg IIC – Transborder Co-operation"):

  • Baltic Sea Region
  • North Sea Region
  • Northwest Europe Metropolitan Region
  • Atlantic Area
  • The Mediterranean and the French and Italian Alps
  • Central and Eastern Mediterranean


Rural dimension / example of action in rural areas

The Lima Valley, in northern Portugal, covers 1276km˛ with 26km of coastline. It has a population of 170 000, 49.5% of whom work in local companies. The region is intersected by the Lima river. VALIMA is the name of the association of the four municipalities of the Vale do Lima. It is participating in the Concercost (no.138) project under the TERRA programme in order to draft strategic management documents in the economic and social field. It aims to emphasise the link between planning and ecology with the final goal of facilitating the implementation of an integrated and coherent action plan and to attract people to settle and work in the municipalities in the interior of the valley. VALIMA is responsible for setting up the TERRA network, Institutional Committee, Management Committee, Committee of Experts and Forum and also for drafting the strategic development plan for the Vale do Lima.


Nature and amount of financial support

Concerted mobilisation of various sources of financing.


European Union financial support

No additional expenditure in the Community budget.



Depends on the level of concertation:

  • European/transnational level: prospects;
  • National level: strategies;
  • Interregional level: programmes;
  • Regional/local level: plans


Communication supports

  • Europa website: (Background and overview of the programme as well as summaries of the 35 demonstration projects are available on this website)

  • "Demonstration programme on the integrated development of coastal areas", February 1996 (XI/102/96).


Information offices and additional information sources

  • European Commission
    DG XI/D2
    Rue de la Loi, 200
    B-1049 Brussels
    F.: +32 2 296 95 56


Last update: 02/99

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