Though the coastal zone covers only a small percentage of the Earth’s surface, it is here that most people work and live. As a result, the coastal system is under continuous and increasing pressure. The conflicts of interest that arise may lead to, among other things:

  • Degradation and loss of land resources with economical value
  • Loss of properties
  • Degradation and loss of land resources with natural and visual value
  • Weakening and loss of marine and land species
  • Degradation and loss of historic and archaeological resources
  • Loss of public access to space and resources
  • Noise and congestion
  • All type of pollution

The role of ICZM in addressing the challenge of Climate Change

The challenge of climate change needs to be addressed inter alia through integrated and ecosystem-based approaches and instruments, such as integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) or green infrastructure. These are crucial to build the foundations for sustainable coastal management and development, supporting socio-economic development, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management is an acknowledged tool to deal with current and long-term coastal challenges, including climate change and its impacts (for instance sea-level rise, changes in storm frequency, strength and patterns and increased coastal erosion and flooding). In 2002, the EU’s ICZM Recommendation referred to the threat to coastal zones posed by climate change as the basis for a strategic approach on ICZM.

The challenges posed by climate change to coastal areas have been also addressed by national ICZM Strategies, which have implemented different principles and tools to respond to these challenges: long-term perspective and precautionary principle, adaptive management, accounting for diversity of local conditions, working with natural processes and coherence between planning and management.

Information on relevant ICZM projects is available on OURCOAST