Integrated Coastal Management

Integrated Coastal Management

    • Integrated Coastal Management: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) is increasingly being recognized as an effective method for managing and protecting marine and coastal environments and associated freshwater catchments. It merits wider application, both for resolving existing problems and for dealing effectively with new ones.

    ICM incorporates and promotes the following actions
    • Coordinated, cross-sectoral and holistic approaches to the management of environmental resources and amenities, taking full account of environmental, public health, economic, social and political considerations
    • Environmental impact assessments, risk management, and cost-benefit analyses in all decision making processes, and incorporating the value of ecosystem services wherever possible
    • The active involvement and participation of all major stakeholders (local authorities, private sector and interested public) in the design and implementation of ICM
    • Regular reviews of management systems and their implementation, and adjusting of priorities, targets and methods where necessary
    • Strengthened institutional capacities through training and retraining programmes.

    If existing global and regional environmental agreements had been implemented as intended, coastal areas would not be in their current precarious state. In many countries, legislative frameworks to achieve national goals and implement multilateral agreements are weak and inadequately enforced.

    To address this situation, ICM recommends the following actions:
    • Governments should adapt national legal instruments to conform to the provisions of internationally endorsed agreements
    • National and international attention should focus on compliance with existing international agreements rather than the development of new ones, unless they have compelling justification
    • Governments must adopt a consistent and coordinated approach in dealing with different international organizations and agreements
    • International bodies responsible for the implementation of global environmental agreements should improve the coordination of their secretariats and governing bodies
    • Further attention should be devoted at the regional level to harmonizing national approaches and measures, and to cost-effective collaboration; the full potential of voluntary commitments and targets should be explored, including with the private sector; and further legally binding instruments should be developed.

    • Unsurprisingly, the coastal areas with the greatest population densities are also those with the most Shoreline degradation. The areas surrounding the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and southern Asia have the highest proportion of altered land, while the coastal zones of the Arctic, northeast Pacific, south Pacific, West and Central Africa, East Africa, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, and Kuwait have the highest proportions of least modified land. In order to better manage and protect the oceans and coasts using effective methods such as Integrated Coastal Management, we also need to continuously improve our understanding of the current state of biophysical, social, and economic relationships and formulate sustainable, ecosystem-based policies and measures that are supported by assessments at national, regional and global scales. Also needed is an overview of the global marine environment that encompasses socio-economic considerations and shows the linkages between the state of the marine environment and human well-being.

    • In response to these needs, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has requested, through Resolution 60/30, that UNEP and UNESCO-IOC co-lead a process which aims to provide a better understanding of the marine assessment landscape to determine the ways in which on-going global, regional and national level assessment work and processes can contribute to the regular assessment and reporting of the state of the marine environment.

    • Options, a framework and the feasibility of establishing such a process (referred to as a ‘Regular Process’) will be proposed to the United Nations General Assembly, in October 2009. Amongst other aims, it will identify linkages between human impacts on the marine environment, environmental change and human well-being and will explore ways to ensure linkages between regions so that issues of common concern can be tackled in a coordinated way, taking into account best practices and regional strengths and capacities.

    • Since the 1990s, the scientific community has been warning about the rapidly changing climate, endeavouring to convince people to take urgent measures to mitigate the changes. These multiple warnings have been ignored until very recently, but the issue is now a priority with many international organizations. However, all reliable climate scenarios run by the IPCC and published in the fourth assessment reports show the following results:
    Cause of degradation
    • The accelerating changes in our global climate will undoubtedly cause major changes in the patterns of water cycle and geographical distribution, in the near future. Some regions will receive less precipitation, some more, and this will significantly affect agricultural activity. While some regions will see a reduction in arable land, others will have more suitable land for agriculture.
      • It’s likely that certain types of agriculture will migrate and traditional areas for crops will change. In other words, climate change will alter the geography of traditional crop areas, which may impact on the world’s capacity to provide enough food for all.
      • agriculture and rural development will be violently hit by climate change
      • poverty and under-nourishment will grow with the uncertainty of food supply
      • the climatologic regime will imply more risk of vulnerability for both humans and biodiversity
      • A reduction of glaciers will imply a growing security risk for hundreds of millions living near coasts.

    • In other words, ongoing climate change will mean that the water supply for human communities will become more and more uncertain. The IPCC has stated that between 2000 and 2005 in the northern hemisphere, climate change accelerated faster than predicted, with the consequence that the water cycle could change in an unpredictable way, leading to the possibility of increases in extreme weather. The fear is that with all these changes, even if the quantity of water in the world does not change, the level of accessibility of the theoretically available water may significantly change.

Last modified: Tuesday, 28 February 2012, 11:17 PM