United Nations Environment Programme
environment for development
 Regional Seas Programme Search 
About Regional Seas
RS Programmes
RS Partners
Key Issues
Coastal Area Management
Ecosystems & Biodiversity
Land-based Activities
Marine Litter
Sea-based Pollution
Small Islands
RS Activities
Conference and Events
RS Global Meetings
40 Years of Action
Abidjan Scoping Meeting
Indicator RS Meetings
Visioning Workshop
Related Links
Contact Us
Site Map


Further Resources

Coastal Zone Management

From the earliest days of the Regional Seas Programme, environmental management has always been a key chapter of the Regional Seas action plans, beginning with the Mediterranean. Today, integrated coastal management (ICM), (also known as integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has become the preferred approach to sustainable development and resource use of coastal areas.

A regional programme that has taken great strides in defining their approach to coastal zone management is the Caribbean, where some 40% of the human population resides within two kilometers of the coast. The programme's prescription for successful integrated management includes a strong legal and institutional framework, an established coordinating mechanism, strong cooperation within existing agencies and departments, Universities to supply personnel and as a vehicle for research and training, active non-governmental organizations and community based management initiatives, and long term budgetary support for local agencies.

A management plan should incorporate the following elements: a resource inventory, marine protected areas, careful planning of development that takes land-sea interactions into account, Environmental Impact Assessments for major development projects, measures for pollution control based on a monitoring and assessment programme and supported by legislation, public education and the involvement of coastal communities.

Integrated coastal management also underpins PERSGA's Strategic Action Programme for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Dr. Ahmed A. Barrania , writing in Al Sambouk 9, defines it thus: "ICZM is both a process and an institutional framework. It involves the establishment of a legal structure within which cross-sectoral planning takes place at a national and a local level.

The planning process itself involves data collection, analysis and the establishment of national, regional and local development guidelines. When integrated into the national framework, the cooperation and coordination between different sectoral agencies with competing interests in the coastal zone, will allow for the development of plans that reduce conflicts. This will enhance sustainable development while protecting the country's natural resources and habitats."

UNEP has developed guidelines for Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM).

The Mediterranean programme has produced Guidelines for Integrated Management of Coastal and Marine Areas - With Special Reference to the Mediterranean Basin, 1995 (UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 161. 80 p.) and Good Practices Guidelines for Integrated Coastal Area Management in the Mediterranean, 2001 (available online – 1.1MB).