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EU Policy on Integrated Coastal Management

The history of EU Integrated Coastal Management Policy

In 1973 the Council of Europe concluded a Resolution on the Protection of the Coastline (Resolution (73) 29). Under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the work of the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT) led to the adoption in 1983 of the European Regional/Spatial Planning Charter. The Council of Europe further supported work on a Model Law on coastal protection and a code of conduct for coastal zones.

From 1973 to 1976 and from 1977 to 1981 the first to European Community action programmes on the environment were launched. They drew special attention to matters concerning the planning and ecological management of coastal areas in Europe. They led in 1981 to the European Coastal Charter, prepared by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions in Europe, and the subsequent Resolution of the European Parliament in 1982 (OJ C 182, 19.7.1982, p.124-126)  which supports the principles laid down in the Coastal Charter. The Charter and the Resolution underscore the need for integrated planning of coastal areas.

The UN Earth Summit of Rio de Janeiro in 1992 kick-started the development of focussed EU policy on integrated coastal zone management. The conclusions of the summit call on coastal states to set up integrated coastal zone management strategies in Chapter 17 of the Agenda 21. Moreover, Chapter 10 of the Agenda 21 stresses the need for sustainable and integrated land management. Consecutively, the Council adopted in 1992 (92 C 59/01) and in 1994 (94C 135/02) resolutions on integrated coastal zone management. In the resolutions the Council acknowledges the integrated approach as very important for facing the challenges in regard to coastal management, and urges the Commission to come forward with proposals for action in Europe.

From 1996 to 1999, the Commission operated a Demonstration Programme on integrated coastal zone management to provide technical information about sustainable coastal zone management, and to stimulate a broad debate among the various actors involved in the planning, management or use of European coastal zones.

The programme was intended to lead to a consensus regarding the measures necessary in order to stimulate Integrated Coastal Management in Europe. In 2000, based on the experiences and outputs of the Demonstration Programme (all of which are available online here), 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/2000/547 of 17 Sept. 2000);
  • A proposal for a European Parliament and Council Recommendation concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe (COM/2000/545 of 8 September 2000).

This Recommendation was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 30 May 2002 (2002/413/EC).

The 6th Environment Action Programme of the European Community, 2002-2012 (European Parliament and Council decision 1600/2002/EC of 22 July 2002) confirmed integrated coastal zone management among the action priorities in Articles 3.10 and 6.2 (g).

On 12 March 2013 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management.

ICZM in Regional Sea Conventions

Mediterranean: The EU is a contracting party to the Barcelona Convention. A milestone in the development of international legislation on ICZM was achieved by the adoption of the ICZM to the Barcelona Convention. On 13 September 2010, the Council adopted the decision to ratify the ICZM Protocol to the Barcelona Convention (more details here).

Baltic sea region: The EU is contracting party to the Helsinki Convention, covering the Baltic Sea. HELCOM Recommendations of specific interest to ICZM include: the Protection of the Coastal Strip (15/1 of 1994), the Preservation of Natural Coastal Dynamics (16/3 of 1995), the Implementation of Integrated Marine and Coastal Management of Human Activities in the Baltic Sea Area (24/10 of 2003) and the Development of Broad-scale Maritime Spatial Planning Principles in the Baltic Sea Area (28E/9 of 2007).

In 2010 HELCOM set up a common working group with VASAB(Visions and Strategies around the Baltic Sea), to assist cooperation in the Baltic Sea on ICZM and Maritime Spatial Planning.  VASAB adopted in 1996 Common Recommendations for Spatial Planning of the Coastal Zone in the Baltic Sea Region, and has been actively developing and supporting coastal management.

Black Sea: The EU is not a contracting party to the Bucharest Convention covering the Black Sea.  But the Member States Romania and Bulgaria are party to the Convention and participate in its ICZM activities. The Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation of the Black Sea, adopted in 2009 establishes ICZM as one of its 3 key management approaches.

Other relevant international references: