Integrated Coastal Management

A process, an integrated plan, an appropriate tool, an effective strategy…

“The Integrated Coastal Management (ICM/ICAM) is a process bringing together the authorities and the community, scientists and managers, where sectoral and public interests merge. Its goal is to prepare and put into practice an integrated plan of protection and development of the ecosystems and resources of the coastal areas. The ICM/ICAM concept has been recognized during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) as the appropriate tool for ensuring sustainable development in the coastal areas.”

ICM/ICAM is essential to sustainable development

The systems must be managed as a single and integrated unit giving its high productivity, its great mobility and interdependence and its connection with land areas. The principles relating to the public nature of the coasts, the oceans and the use of its resources are based on the public domain access to coastal and ocean resources. That is why management must be regulated by ethics, justice and equality between all users, and, in case of irreconcilable conflicts, by the priority to protect biological resources and their habitats beyond the exploitation of non-biological and non-renewable resources.

Comparative advantages of ICM/ICAM

Coastal and oceanic sustainable development seek to maximize economic, social and cultural benefits that those ecosystems can generate/provide/supply/bring without affecting/damaging their welfare and productivity.

This development which is based on the management of those areas should be a cooperative efforts between all the interested parties. Additionally, it is governed by principles on the integrated management of every activity carried out in coasts and oceans or affecting them. In ocean and coastal areas, multiple users and governmental organisms of different levels (for instance national, provincial and local) often converge; furthermore, in the event of shared seas, coasts and oceans are spaces of interaction with other nations.

They are also affected by earth and freshwater-related issues, as their management asks for a suitable knowledge of various disciplines. For this reason, one of the key elements of integrated coastal and ocean management is the integration of the following aspects: cross-sectional, intergovernmental, spatial, scientific and international (Cicin-Sain and Knecht, 1998).

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