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Coastal Zone Policy

Recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management

A European Parliament and Council Recommendation concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe was adopted on 30 May 2002 (2002/413/EC). It lists eight principles defining the essential characteristics of ICZM. Integration across sectors and levels of governance, as well as a participatory and knowledge-based approach, are hallmarks of ICZM. Based on these principles, the Recommendation outlines steps which the Member States should take to develop national strategies for ICZM. Given the cross-border nature of many coastal processes, coordination and cooperation with neighbouring countries and in a regional sea context are also encouraged.

To support the implementation of the ICZM Recommendation, the Commission facilitates an expert group, which held its first meeting on 3 October 2002 (documents related to this group can be found here). The expert group was formed following the first High Level Forum on ICZM, organised by the Spanish Presidency of the EU from April 19 to 21 in Villajoyosa, Spain. The Forum gave a clear message of support to the ICZM Recommendation and implementation of ICZM in Europe (Forum's Conclusions).

The Greek Presidency of the EU organised an International High Level Conference on Coastal areas and cities from May 29 to 30, 2003, in Hersonissos, Crete (Forum's Conclusions).

Financial support to implementation

EU financial instruments can support implementation of a large variety of coastal projects and research. Depending on the nature of the project, funding possibilities are possible under the structural funds under the cohesion policy of the EU, the instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA), the EU's funding instrument for the environment (LIFE+), the ECO-innovation Initiative, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Education and Culture- Lifelong Learning Programme, the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the Develoment Cooperation Instrument, the Marco-Polo, the TEN-T and Intelligent Energy programmes.

Information platforms Ourcoast and Coastal Wikipedia

Case-studies and best-practice examples to support ICZM implementation are provided by the OURCOAST database.

The coastal wikipedia gathers coastal management knowledge and research. It is a result of the EU co-funded research project ENCORA.


The EU ICZM Recommendation, Chapter VI.3, requested the European Commission to present an evaluation report to the Council and the European Parliament. This evaluation, and policy directions for the further promotion of ICZM in Europe were presented by the Commission in its Communication of 7 June 2007 (COM(2007)308 final).

The main sources of information for this evaluation were:

Disclaimer: the release of the report by the Commission does not imply recognition either of its regularity or of the authencity, completeness or correctness of the declarations and information enclosed.