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2. The process of integrated coastal area management


The sustainable development concept commonly strives to maintain or restore a `balance' between the natural and human environments without any agreement on spatial or temporal benchmarks. Besides the fact that it is impossible to freeze the biosphere in its present state for future generations or attempt to restore an equilibrium of the past, changes in world population density and distribution and national or local economies impose a concept of evolution. As a result, the myth of equilibrium is replaced by variability, uncertainty, precaution and irreversibility.

Development involves management in time and space of the interactions between economic and ecological, and social and natural variability, where ecosystems and the lifestyles they support can exist side by side. The purely conservationist approach has given way to a more dynamic, progressive and development-oriented perception, with a view to closer integration between conservation and development. The ecosystem is a matter of concern to a plurality of actors, and has to support a plurality of resources and uses. The issue is therefore a matter of coordination between these uses and the users (Babin et al., 1997).

Meeting of Matale District Group, Sri Lanka

Coastal resources management includes a wide array of management practices such as: land-use planning; legal, administrative and institutional execution; demarcation on the ground; inspection and control of adherence to decisions; solution of land tenure issues; settling of water rights; issuing of concessions for plant, animal and mineral extraction (e.g. wood and non-wood products, fishery resources, hunting, peat); and safeguarding of the rights of different interest groups (e.g. traditional and indigenous people, women).

Coastal area management is too complex to be handled by traditional sectoral planning and management. To be effective, planning for integrated coastal area management (ICAM) must be coordinated between sectoral implementing agencies. A balanced management perspective is needed in which intersectoral relationships are fully understood, trade-offs recognized and anticipated, benefits and alternatives critically assessed, appropriate management interventions identified and implemented, and necessary institutional and organizational arrangements worked out. This is the essence of ICAM.

The different spatial management scales of ICAM

Notes: The boundaries of a managed coastal area may change as different problems are addressed. Influencing factors may be biophysical, economic, social, jurisdictional and/or organizational in character.

1/ National or subnational level scale: could be a bay, entire archipelago or whole coast under national jurisdiction. Ideally, a national policy (goal and strategy) with different routes of implementation, according to intracountry socio-political and biophysical differences.

2/ Problem area scale: defined on the basis of prevailing management issues or administrative level of support.

3/ Local study scale: one or more pilot sites selected for special studies (e.g. specific geographic sites of natural, cultural or economic significance) or for demonstration purposes.

Source: adapted from IOC/ICSU/WMO, 1997.

Integrated management refers to management of sectoral components as parts of a functional whole, with resource users, not stocks of natural resources, as the focus of management. This focus highlights the need for the active participation of communities. Relevant line agencies must be involved so as to mitigate cross-sectoral impacts and adjust sectoral development portfolios to make them consistent with integrated coastal management goals.

ICAM programmes should be tailored to fit the institutional and organizational environment of the countries or regions involved, including the legal, political and administrative structure, cultural patterns and social traditions. It can be started as a strategy for an entire country, or can focus initially on special management areas selected on the basis of priority of management issues, their tractability to management interventions and the level of private or government support locally, regionally or nationally.20

The management programme can be comprehensive or selective in the issues it includes. There is no single correct way to organize and implement ICAM strategies and plans. Each country will develop its own customized plan, as evidenced by the diversity found in existing programmes worldwide. Nevertheless, there are some basic features that are common among them.

The objectives of ICAM, along the lines endorsed by Heads of State at the Earth Summit are in Box A.3.

UNCED objectives for ICAM

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) provided significant support for integrated management of coastal areas. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, `Protection of oceans, all kinds of seas including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources' outlines a commitment by coastal nations to `integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas and the marine environment under their national jurisdiction'. Paragraph 17.5 of Programme A of Chapter 17 sets out the objectives of integrated coastal area management as being to:

  • provide for an integrated policy and decision-making process to promote compatibility and a balance of uses;
  • identify existing and projected uses of coastal areas and their interactions;
  • concentrate on well-defined issues;
  • apply preventive and precautionary approaches in planning and implementation;
  • promote the application and development of methods that reflect changes in value resulting from uses of marine and coastal areas, including pollution, marine erosion, loss of resources and habitat destruction;
  • provide access, as far as possible, for concerned individuals, groups and organizations to relevant information and opportunities for consultation and participation in planning and decision-making at appropriate levels.


2.2.1 The role of law in ICAM

The role of law in the successful implementation of ICAM is frequently overlooked or inadequately appreciated. The long-term prospects of an ICAM initiative will be seriously jeopardized if, first, it is not based on a clear understanding of the legal and institutional arrangements governing coastal management and, second, appropriate legal mechanisms are not used to implement it.

Implementing ICAM may involve changing the way existing institutions operate, creating new institutions, changing the rights of users of coastal resources, and introducing new mechanisms to regulate human activities within, or that may affect, coastal areas. This will almost invariably require repealing or amending existing legislation and frequently enacting entirely new legislation. The transition may also give rise to new conflicts between implementing agencies, between implementing agencies and other stakeholders in the coastal area, and between stakeholders. In addition, legislation can be used to provide tools and mechanisms to enable and facilitate the integrated management of coastal areas and to establish mechanisms for resolving disputes.21

2.2.2 Rights to own and use coastal resources

ICAM policy-makers will frequently have to decide whether to change the regime governing property or user rights in order to attain their objectives. They must therefore understand the nature and function of different property regimes, the existing regimes and how governance arrangements function; without this, serious policy errors can be made.22 

The concept of ownership has been described as a `container' of a number of rights in relation to the property, for example: the right to possess it, to use it, to enjoy its fruits, and to dispose of it (e.g. Simpson, 1976). The owner may transfer particular rights to other parties for a period on agreed terms (rent a tract of land for grazing for three years, for example) but the container of ownership remains with the owner; even if all rights have been transferred for the time being, ultimately they will revert to the owner.

Map of coastal lowlands of Bangladesh

Source: Manuscrit map by M. Van der Zijp and S. Jelgersma. ARCWORLD for rivers.

Property rights are created and enforced by society for particular purposes. They define the relationship between a person (an individual or a legal entity such as a company) and a thing (which may be physical or intangible). Legal systems typically distinguish between types of ownership by reference to both the subject (i.e. the owner) and the object of the right. The categories vary between legal systems but many legal systems incorporate distinctions between:

Discussions of property regimes often focus on the various categories of person who hold the rights; they thus sometimes lose sight of the fact that the characteristics of the property regime are determined both by the category of person holding the right (e.g. the state, a group with common rights, or a private individual or legal entity) and by the nature of the property (thing) in question.

When property rights are discussed from an economic perspective, distinctions are often made between state property, private property, common property and open access regimes.24  Legal analyses, however, tend to concentrate on distinguishing between different ownership regimes such as public property, common property, unowned resources and alienable property (private property).

However from the perspective of natural resource management, the identity of the legal owner of a resource is not usually the crucial issue. In addition, the categories used in Box A.2 can overlap. For example, from a factual perspective there may be open access to a resource regardless of whether, legally, it is subject to state, common or private ownership. It is therefore important to ensure that the categories used for analysing property regimes do not obscure the most relevant distinctions from a management perspective.

From an ICAM perspective, rather than classifying property rights in coastal areas on the basis of legal or economic categories, it is usually more useful to identify: a) who has the legal right to manage the resource (which is distinct from, though related to, who the owner is); b) whether or not the use or exploitation of the resource is in fact controlled; c) who the management authority is; and d) on what terms access to the resource is granted.

2.2.3 Evaluating regulatory frameworks for ICAM

An initial assessment of existing regulatory frameworks will usually aim to evaluate the extent to which existing laws, property and use rights and institutional arrangements will promote or hinder the attainment of the objectives of the coastal management programme and identify any required modifications.

Most laws apply primarily to a particular sector or human activity (e.g. fishing) and are administered by the line ministry or government agency responsible for that sector. However, since ICAM is concerned with area management, it will usually be necessary to review a wide range of laws, administrative regulations, institutional practices and customary laws. These would typically include laws that:

Women training, Hio, Benin

Fishers planning coastal microprojects, Hio, Benin

Landing site development committee meeting, after having obtained legal right to protect the site from encroachment of real estate development, Conakry, Guinea

Fishers' group leaders and fisheries officers setting priorities, Kamsar, Guinea

The obligations, principles, standards and recommendations contained in international agreements and documents provide a useful measure against which to evaluate national legal frameworks for ICAM. In some instances, it will be important for drafters of national laws to take into account the provisions of binding international treaties, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea26  and others.27  In addition, useful guidance in preparing ICAM policies and legislation can be obtained from the provisions of a variety of non-binding international documents such as the Earth Summit agreements and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (which includes Article 10 on `Integration of fisheries into coastal area management') and others.28 

Some of the specific issues that should be considered in reviewing laws that affect the management of coastal areas are set out in Box A.4.

Considerations for integrating the legal framework

In assessing the degree of integration of an existing or proposed legal framework for coastal management, it is helpful to consider the following questions:

  • Is the scope of the legislation broad enough to encompass: a) the geographical area relevant to the ICAM initiative (geographical jurisdiction); b) the institutions and individuals who have the powers to control coastal resources (jurisdiction over legal persons); and c) the subject matter necessary to achieve ICAM (e.g. environmental quality and protection, economic development and the conservation of marine and terrestrial living resources)?
  • Do the substantive laws, rights and duties accord with the overall policy objectives? (For example, a right of unrestricted public access to the coast may conflict with a policy objective to protect fragile coastal ecosystems.)
  • Do procedural law provisions and administrative procedures ensure that all relevant information will be taken into account and that holistic (as opposed to sectoral) criteria will be used in planning and decision-making?
  • Are there procedural mechanisms for ensuring the consistency of the legal rules and criteria applied by different institutions and at different levels in the governmental or administrative hierarchy?

In developing a framework for ICAM it is important to avoid simply adding further layers of bureaucracy and legal complexity. The principle of integration should also be applied to the legal and institutional framework, reducing overlaps and producing a more streamlined and effective governance structure. This means that the proposed legal framework itself should be comprehensive, holistic in approach and internally consistent.

The impact of laws on society is largely determined by the way those laws are implemented and enforced. In order to gain a proper understanding of how a regulatory system actually functions, it is essential to analyse the institutional framework in conjunction with the relevant laws.29 

Mangrove regrowth after introduction of improved livestock waste management measures. Cumulative effects of waste effluents had destroyed the mangrove facing the Strait of Malaya, Malaysia.

Unchecked flash floods carrying away precious topsoil, Tunisia

2.2.4 Legal principles to support ICAM

While it is inappropriate to transplant a law from one legal system to another - particularly where the social context and legal traditions are very different - principles used in one system can often be usefully adapted and applied in other legal systems. A number of principles - most of which are derived from international environmental law - that either have been, or could be, incorporated into national laws in order to promote ICAM are outlined in Box A.5. The focus is on those principles that are likely to provide practical guidance to the drafters of national legislation rather than on attempting to discuss all relevant principles.30

Legal principles to support ICAM

The precautionary principle. The essence of this principle is that, in situations where there is reason to believe that something is causing serious or potentially irreparable environmental harm, preventive action should be taken immediately, even in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence. Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration calls upon states to apply the precautionary approach stating that: `Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.' As Boelaert-Suominen and Cullinan (1994) point out, `the precautionary principle is particularly appropriate in the context of ICAM because of the vulnerability of many coastal resources (and hence the likelihood of irreparable harm occurring swiftly) and because scientific knowledge about the complex web of interconnected biological processes found in coastal systems is far from complete.' One of the ways in which this principle can be applied in national law is to require developers to bear the onus of satisfying the authorities that a proposed development will not cause significant harm to the environment. This would mean that in situations where the environmental impact of a project is uncertain, it would not be authorized. The current position in many countries is that consent must be given unless the authorities have evidence that harm will result.

The principle of preventive action. This principle requires action to be taken to avert known or quantifiable harm. Preventive measures are usually justifiable on the basis that it is cheaper, safer and more desirable to prevent environmental harm occurring than to rectify it later (if, indeed, this is possible). The application of this principle can be seen in legal requirements for environmental impact assessments, development permits and consents.

The polluter pays principle. This principle is concerned with ensuring that the social costs of environmental degradation are borne by those responsible for the environmental degradation rather than by society at large. There is no universally accepted formulation of this principle and the extent to which it is applied varies significantly. In most instances the application of the principle is limited, for example by stating that polluters are only responsible for the costs necessary to reduce pollution to within prescribed limits.32 In the coastal context, the principle should result in improved allocation of scarce resources by imposing on the user the full cost of any use of a resource (including the cost of any incidental damage to the environment).

Responsibility not to cause transboundary environmental damage. Water is not only the most important component of coastal ecosystems, it is also often shared by more than one country. Thus, the management of aquatic resources, such as fish stocks, and the control of marine pollution frequently have transboundary implications. Probably the most fundamental obligation of states that share a natural environmental resource is, as far as possible, to avoid creating adverse environmental effects beyond their own borders, or at least to reduce such effects to a minimum.33 

Rational and equitable use of natural resources. Many international legal texts incorporate the principle that the use and management of natural resources generally, or of particular resources such as fisheries, should be `rational'. One way to apply this principle in the context of ICAM is to fix priorities among coastal-dependent activities when granting development rights. Giving weight to activities that, by their very nature, are dependent on their situation close to the sea is a first step in the process of allocating coastal resources rationally.34 Where a resource is shared by more than one country (typically an international watercourse or fishery) international law also emphasizes that the community of interests of co-users of the resource gives rise to an obligation to negotiate in good faith to bring about an equitable allocation of the resource. Such principles of international law may be usefully incorporated into national law, and can serve as a useful general guide for decision-makers in such situations.35 

Public involvement. There has been a worldwide trend to provide increased public access to environmental information and to require consultation with interested or affected members of the public when preparing new policies or authorizing developments that may affect the natural environment. The case for public involvement in coastal management is even stronger than in other areas because the public is usually a significant user of coastal areas and in some countries may even be considered to be the owner of areas such as the shoreline.36 

2.2.5 Legal mechanisms used to achieve ICAM objectives

A great variety of legal instruments have been used to promote ICAM objectives. However, identifying appropriate, practical legal mechanisms to give effect to the concepts and principles such as sustainable development that underlie ICAM remains one of the major challenges facing legislative drafters. This section discusses some legal mechanisms that may be useful.31 

Guiding the exercise of administrative discretion. Legislation dealing with natural resource management will often mandate a line ministry or executive agency to prepare management or development plans and establish procedures for granting authorizations. Usually the executive agency or official responsible will have wide discretion as to how these duties are performed. However, in some instances it may be helpful to stipulate various general principles that the executive agency or official must take into consideration. This technique has the advantage of requiring important but legally imprecise principles to be formally considered.37  The disadvantage is that the enforcement of such provisions may be difficult, particularly where non-governmental organizations and members of the public do not have legal standing to challenge the validity of plans and administrative decisions in court.

Changing rights to own and use coastal resources. Property rights are a fundamental component of any system for allocating or managing natural resources.38  If it is clear that the existing property regime in the coastal area will obstruct or prevent the attainment of the desired objectives, it may be desirable to redistribute the relevant rights (where possible). This may give rise to an obligation to pay compensation. Adjusting property regimes can be politically sensitive and legally complex. Therefore, before undertaking any radical restructuring, it is important to ascertain whether or not problems such as environmental degradation are in fact a consequence of an inappropriate property regime or are attributable to other factors, such as poor management.

In many cases it is the management regime rather than the ownership regime that is critical.39  For example, asserting state control over coastal resources may appear to be an obvious way of implementing ICAM. In theory, if much of the coastal area is public land, access to beaches and other coastal resources will be assured and the integrity of the coast maintained.40  However, if the public has a legal right to use the area in the absence of careful state management, intensive public use can result in environmental degradation. Furthermore, most analysts agree that the tendency during the 1970s and 1980s to shift control over local natural resources from local user groups to central government has generally not resulted in effective natural resource management (Bromley and Cernea, 1989).

Existing property regimes may have been superimposed on traditional customary law rights which, until recently, were often simply ignored. In recent years there has been increasing recognition of at least some of the traditional legal rights asserted by indigenous people over natural resources and of the fact that the principles that they embody are often useful in promoting sustainable management and equitable allocation.

The distribution or redistribution of rights to own and use coastal resources can have a significant impact on coastal management. Some of the legal mechanisms used in this regard include:

Establishing protected areas. One of the most common legal mechanisms used in coastal area management is the formal designation of an area of particular ecological importance as a protected area in which special conservation and management measures will be applied. The protected area may be designated for a particular purpose (e.g. preservation as a wilderness area), but protected areas that permit multiple uses, subject to controls, are becoming more common. It is always preferable to consult current (traditional) users of the area regarding the establishment of protected areas and to associate them with the management of such areas.41  Excluding them can lead to hardship for them and/or violent reactions. This is an extremely useful mechanism particularly when it is used proactively to conserve important resources before they become degraded. However, legal difficulties are sometimes encountered in establishing protected areas that cover areas of both land and sea, and in managing and controlling activities outside the protected area that have an impact on the area itself.

Zoning and coastal setback lines. Most land-use planning systems rely on designating areas (zones) in which only certain specified activities or land uses (e.g. agriculture) will be permitted. This is a proactive mechanism (as opposed to project-specific environmental impact assessments (see Box A.6) which are reactive in nature) and can be useful in coastal management if plans are regularly updated and development restrictions enforced. A particular type of zoning commonly used in coastal management involves prohibiting or restricting certain activities or uses of coastal resources (e.g. erecting buildings) within a defined strip of land between the shoreline and a `setback line'. This mechanism can be used for a variety of purposes including conserving natural habitats, guaranteeing public access to the shore and promoting tourism. It tends to be favoured by legislators because it is relatively straightforward to enforce, is popular with people inland and is often an extension of existing legal principles related to public access to the coast.

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) and
cumulative environmental impact assessment (CEIA)

An increasing number of countries have introduced legislation requiring an EIA to be conducted before certain developments will be authorized. Requiring EIAs is particularly useful in the context of ICAM because this mechanism is inherently cross-sectoral in philosophy, preventive in nature and specifically concerned with evaluating the linkages between human activity and the environment. However, this technique has its limitations. EIAs are primarily designed to make relevant information available to a decision-maker; merely requiring the submission of an EIA report does not in itself provide any legal control over environmentally harmful activities. It is therefore essential that the decision-maker has the power to refuse to grant development consent, or to impose enforceable conditions when granting the consent on the basis of the information in the EIA report, and that these powers are exercised when appropriate. Compliance with conditions imposed in the administrative consent must also be monitored and enforced. Furthermore, in coastal areas the cumulative impact of many different activities, some occurring in distant catchment areas, is frequently far more significant than the effects of local developments. As a result, cumulative environmental impact assessments, strategic EIAs of regional and local development plans and policies and appropriate zoning of development areas may be more effective than project-specific EIAs. Finally, competence in undertaking EIA, or in evaluating EIA reports, is not always available locally.

CEIA may be applied in coastal areas that suffer from the cumulative impact of numerous actions. The justification of CEIA is that, even where there is an effective EIA, the EIA frequently does not protect ecosystems against incremental degradation effects, partly because the actions may be too small to justify an individual EIA and partly because of a commonly occurring willingness to accept a little degradation. The purpose of CEIA is threefold: to give individuals advance notice of how adverse cumulative impacts will be considered; to allow regulators to decide whether an incremental change is acceptable; and to increase the capability of regulators to control or influence small-scale activities and projects that would not be considered under the conventional EIA procedure. Cumulative effects on the agricultural sector will increase as the scale of development increases. Hence, planners in agriculture, forestry and fisheries have a particular interest in cumulative effects and, therefore, in CEIA. This is because the effects often extend for long distances downstream, beyond the obvious direct impacts of a project, and also because multiple small-scale actions may have even greater adverse effects on natural systems than a few large-scale projects will have.The problems with CEIA are that there is not yet a generally accepted comprehensive methodology and, often, reference to cumulative effects in environmental management laws is absent. In addition, there is frequently a reluctance on the part of resource managers to consider cumulative effects which, in turn, may be the result of a range of factors such as the perceived need to give greater priority to other issues, the absence of the necessary mandate, or a lack of data.

Key issues to consider in evaluating the legal framework for ICAM are summarized in Box A.7.

Issues in evaluating legal frameworks for ICAM

The following list of questions is intended to give an indication of some of the issues that are useful to consider in evaluating regulatory frameworks for ICAM. It is not an exhaustive checklist.

The planning process

  • Is there a body that has a legal mandate to prepare development or management plans for the coastal area - even if these are not specifically conceived for ICAM purposes?
  • Does the planning body have adequate powers to prepare the plans?
  • Are the coastal area and scope of the plans defined?
  • Is there a legally prescribed process that must be followed to prepare, approve, review and amend the management plans and does it provide for effective public participation?
  • What is the legal status of the plans and policies? For example, is the plan binding on other agencies or does it merely provide guidance for decision-makers?
  • Does the planning process take into consideration regional and international commitments?
  • Are there mechanisms for encouraging and enforcing compliance with the plans?

Existing rights and obligations

  • Are the rights of existing owners and users of the coastal areas - including the rights of groups who have traditionally used coastal resources - clearly defined and legally enforceable?
  • Is the existing distribution of public and private rights to own and use coastal land and resources conducive to protecting environmental quality and long-term sustainable development, including ensuring equitable access and use by the current generation and intergenerational equity?
  • How will implementation of the plan be affected by existing rights?
  • How will implementation of the plan affect existing rights?
  • How can existing customary law rights be incorporated into, or recognized by, the new regime?
  • Are further limitations on the existing rights of private owners necessary, and justifiable, in order to attain ICAM policy goals, and will it be necessary and possible to pay compensation for affecting these rights?


  • Are there clearly identified bodies mandated to implement the plans and do they have the necessary legal powers to do so?
  • Are there processes for consultation and coordination between relevant agencies and for resolving interagency conflicts?
  • Does the legal system as a whole provide suitable legal mechanisms to implement the plan?
  • Do other laws conflict with or hinder the attainment of ICAM objectives? For example, inadequate controls on deforestation or harmful agricultural practices in the catchment area may result in increased sedimentation in rivers with negative consequences for coastal areas.
  • Are there adequate mechanisms to encourage and enforce compliance? For example do the relevant authorities have the necessary powers and capacity, including powers of enforcement in exclusive economic zones in accordance with international law, are the sanctions sufficient to deter illegal or undesirable activities and, where appropriate, are there incentives for self-regulation by local stakeholders?
  • Is the legislation that is proposed to facilitate ICAM consistent with the legal system as a whole, consistent with international commitments, clear, equitable and enforceable, bearing in mind financial, institutional and other constraints?


During the policy process for ICAM, goals and objectives are determined and the means to achieve them are formulated in strategies and plans. The process will vary considerably from one country to another, depending upon the size of the country, the issues to be considered, the institutional framework, cultural background and many other considerations. In general, however, the setting of area goals and the strategy to achieve them is undertaken by a coordinating agency in conjunction with the concerned line ministries, other government agencies and representatives of other stakeholders. The plans through which the strategy is implemented are formulated by the responsible executing agencies, usually the line ministries and subnational and local governments, often in conjunction with non-governmental organizations. Consultation with local people is highly desirable but rarely undertaken. The line ministries, therefore, are critical to the process, both through their contribution to the formulation of the goals and strategy and to its implementation.

Experience shows that when ICAM plans are prepared as stand-alone plans - distinct from national or subnational development plans and from sectoral development and renewable resource management plans - it is difficult to find the human and financial resources to implement them. In contrast, when ICAM is an integral part of sectoral development and renewable resource management plans, this problem may often be less pronounced.

Fishers ply their trade, Mekong River, Laos

Farmer standing next to a gully that has eaten away part of her property, Lesotho

Polluted waters in Java Harbour, Indonesia

2.3.1 Definition of the boundaries of ICAM

In adopting the principle of ICAM, governments have to decide whether to apply ICAM at the area, subnational or national level. Coastal countries, especially small island countries, will need to adopt a national ICAM policy, and some may opt also to have a national ICAM plan. Many other countries will have specific ICAM plans only for certain threatened parts of the coast.

However, the absence of an ICAM plan does not necessarily imply that coastal resources are not managed; sectoral plans, plans for environmental management or local community management may fulfil coastal management requirements successfully.

In most coastal states, there are differences in climatic, biophysical, economic, social, political, institutional and cultural variety among different parts of the coast. Therefore, different resource allocation decisions and, perhaps, different routes to implementing them will be required. Moreover, with the exception of small island states, the complexity of national coastal areas makes it impractical to manage at the national level.

In most countries, therefore (other than for small states), coastal management is usually undertaken at the area level.42  For the purpose of management, the boundaries of a managed coastal area may change as different problems are addressed. There is much to be said therefore, for area boundaries being determined pragmatically and flexibly. The factors influencing a boundary may be biophysical, economic, social, jurisdictional and/or organizational in character.

Experience of successful integrated coastal management points to the need to ensure that the area under management encompasses the source of the environmental changes that have an adverse effect in the coastal area.43  Some areas defined for integrated coastal management may be relatively small. Others may be larger than some countries.44  Although ICAM is usually area-based, it is desirable to have a national ICAM outline plan to ensure a proper legal framework, integration with national development planning, and funding. Funding for ICAM can come largely from adjustments to existing sectoral budgets and investment plans.

It is as well to limit initial attempts at ICAM to small selected pilot sites, which provide an opportunity to explore the broader institutional requirements and demonstrations prior to the expansion of ICAM to larger and more complex sites.

Under an area-based approach, progress in implementation will vary considerably within a country and the final results will differ from place to place. Areas where there is most experience of ICAM will be a number of stages ahead of others where it has been applied at a later date. The severity of issues to be faced and the performance of institutions in applying ICAM will also vary greatly. The main concern is that they all share the same national goals and strategy.45 

Satellite data for coastal map for planners, Calauag and Lopez Bays, the Philippines.
Scale 1:50 000

In the tidal area, the colour orange represents degraded areas, mainly mangroves, which should be rehabilitated. The yellow represents dry bare lands, mostly idle aquaculture ponds which require ground survey. In shallow water, the mapping of areas covered by coral (violet tones) and seagrass (green tones) is very useful for assessing fish habitat and monitoring destruction of coral.

2.3.2 Types of governance and institutional arrangements

Few countries actually start with comprehensive, enabling legislation for coastal area management on a nationwide basis, perhaps because legislation often significantly lags behind problems. Many countries take a more expedient, piecemeal approach in which existing laws and policies are amended or coordinated by means of interagency guidelines, or new, complementary laws are enacted.46 

Few countries have the capacity to deal with nationwide management of coastal areas initially, and programmes need to be adapted to local situations. If organized correctly, pilot site plans can be used as a testing ground for domestic capabilities in technical, institutional and organizational approaches for managing coastal areas.

Effective management intervention is dependent on the existence of appropriate institutions and organizations. A major question is the adequacy of existing arrangements for management planning and implementation. Where these arrangements are found inadequate or constraining, changes can be gradually introduced. For practical purposes, management activities will initially have to be adapted to existing institutions and organizations, and adjustments phased over the longer term.

There is an enormous range of possible institutional arrangements for ICAM. Broadly, the following distinctions can be made:

Coordination tends to be preferred since line ministries are typically highly protective of their core responsibilities, as these relate directly to their power base and funding. The establishment of an organization with broad administrative responsibilities overlapping the traditional jurisdictions of line ministries - as would be the case where management, policy and development functions are integrated within a single institution - is often likely to meet with resistance rather than cooperation. Integration and coordination should be thought of as separate but mutually supporting.

Integration is an important mechanism in coastal area planning and implementation. Three distinct types of integration are important for ICAM: systems integration, functional integration and policy integration:

Coordination is an important mechanism in coastal area planning. It brings together disparate resource users, community groups, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and government agencies at various levels, including central, regional and local. The objectives of coordination are to:

Various levels of coordination needed for ICAM

Coordination on several levels - vertical, horizontal and temporal - is needed as illustrated in Figure A.6:

It is important that planning for ICAM be incorporated into national economic and sector development plans to ensure appropriate institutional and budgetary support, and to ensure that ICAM goals are compatible with the national and sectoral development and management plans. The hierarchical relationship between national, sectoral and integrated coastal area planning is illustrated in Figure A.7.

Hierarchical relationship between national, sectoral, and integrated coastal area planning

2.3.3 Prerequisites for ICAM

Whatever the exact nature of the process, the success of ICAM will revolve around an effective coordinating mechanism47  and a number of prerequisites.

Establishment of a twin-track process. Regardless of who initiates the ICAM process, the decision to proceed should be taken by a senior government authority to mark the political will to pursue it. Overall goals determined at government level must then be refined at area level into goals and objectives specific to coastal dwellers' needs. Experience at the area level will highlight the need for action (e.g. legislation) in support of integrated coastal management. Lessons learned in the implementation of policies at the area level will feed into the evaluation and adjustment of national goals and strategies. In other words, the top-down and bottom-up processes mutually influence and feed into each other.

Establishing an iterative policy process. The policy process involves continuous learning. Among the factors are: experience in the application of various policy instruments; new information provided by environmental monitoring and research; developments in economic and social activities; and revised objectives, according to emerging new factors. Given the long-term nature of much of the research, it is recommended to make provision for research in the strategy and plan; the results will be used in subsequent periodic reviews of plans. As confidence in the ICAM process widens, planners may address more complex issues calling for more research and more learning.

Crowded fishing port, Morocco

Processing of dried fish for export, Guinea

Public involvement. ICAM brings together a variety of social actors, ranging from resource users and communities to legal, recognized or customary institutions, from various hierarchical levels. Figure A.8 illustrates the major groups of social actors at play. It is possible to identify various levels or types of public involvement:

Social actors in public involvement process

Source: adapted from Davis, 1997.

The latter varies from shared decision-making (consensus building), to collaborative decision-making (co-partnership), and empowerment (self-management). Public involvement can therefore be weak or strong, depending upon the broader institutional context and the nature and degree of transparency and openness of the communication processes between governments and citizens.48 

A typology of participation

Types of participation

Characteristics of each type

Manipulative participation

Participation is simply a pretence.

Passive participation

People participate by being told what has been decided or has already happened. The information that is shared belongs only to external professionals.

Participation by consultation

People participate by being consulted or by answering questions. The process does not concede any share in decision-making, and professionals are under no obligation to take people's views into consideration.

Participation for material incentives

People participate in return for food, cash or other material incentives. Local people have no stake in prolonging technologies or practices when the incentives end.

Functional participation

Participation is seen by external agencies as a means to achieve project goals, especially at reduced costs. People may participate by forming groups to meet predetermined objectives related to the project.

Interactive participation

People participate in joint analysis, development of action plans and formation or strengthening of local groups or institutions. Learning methodologies are used to seek multiple perspectives, and groups determine how available resources are used.


People participate by taking initiatives independently of external institutions to change systems. They develop contacts with external institutions for the resources and technical advice they need, but retain control over how resources are used.

Source: Pretty et al., 1995.

Participatory approaches fall under two broad categories:

One of the key elements for successful projects (which fall under the second category) is working towards a higher (cosmic) human dimension, where project activities are integrated into the culture of people (for example, by converting, where appropriate, the various operational activities into rituals as a duty to the king and/or a service to the god). The participatory process can develop an innovative mix of traditional and `imported' expertise, according to each specific context (Sharma, 1997).

2.3.4 Institutional coordination for ICAM

Criteria for the selection of the coordinating institution. Experience in ICAM suggests that line ministries with sectoral responsibilities change or adjust very slowly within the framework of an ICAM initiative. Furthermore, formal institutional coordination works well only within relatively narrow limits, especially until experience and confidence in the process are acquired by the line ministries. In these circumstances, the selection of the most appropriate institution is a critical part of the process as a whole. Among the criteria that should be considered in this selection are the following (after Dick Osborne and Associates, 1993):

Few coordinating institutions will comply with all these criteria. There are perhaps as many ways for countries to select a coordinating institution as there are countries undertaking ICAM through a coordinated approach. Different examples of countries' approaches are illustrated in Boxes A.8 and A.9.

Selection of the coordinating agency for ICAM in Kenya

Kenya selected its coordinating agency in three stages. Originally, the Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) was selected as the lead institution on the basis of its knowledge of many coastal biophysical interactions and its experience of coastal fisheries, as well as its long-standing relationships with two of the international agencies involved, UNEP and FAO. However, its narrow mandate hampered progress and early in the project the lead institution function was transferred to the Coast Development Authority (CDA).

CDA was established just two years prior to the inception of the project to plan and coordinate development projects in the Coast province and the exclusive economic zone. However, while the CDA's mandate (related to land use and management of water and other marine resources) was broad, relevant and endowed with regulatory powers, it had a number of shortcomings. CDA lacked experience in working with other agencies, had relatively weak institutional capacity, lacked expertise in any relevant area and did not have a policy on ICAM.

CDA maintained a good working relationship with KMFRI and both developed good working relationships with other agencies with a strong interest in the sound management of the area. These included the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Fisheries Department, the Public Health Department and the municipality of Mombasa, within which the area falls. These agencies, together with stakeholders, have formed an informal coastal resources management committee. The combined experience and institutional capacity of these agencies amounts to a considerable force for sound coastal management.

Selection of the coordinating agency for ICAM in the Philippines

The Lingayen Gulf was the site in the Philippines for the Coastal Resources Management Project jointly sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States. In 1986, four institutions were identified to implement the Philippines' component of the project. While each had considerable technical competence, none had experience in formulating a coastal management plan and, in 1990, the National Economic Development Plan (NEDA) was designated as the lead agency.

This project ended in 1992 with the main output in the Philippines being the Lingayen Gulf Coastal Management Plan. Implementation, however, did not begin until 1994 with the issue of an executive order creating the Lingayen Gulf Coastal Area Management Commission.

The membership of the Commission is representative of the principal central and local government interests in the area. It is composed of the Secretaries of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) (chairman), Agriculture (vice chairman), Interior and Local Government, Trade, Industry and Tourism, and National Defence, the Director-General of the National Economic Development Authority, the governors of the two provinces concerned and the mayors of the concerned local governments. DENR provides the technical secretariat of the Commission, headed by an executive director.

The Commission serves as an advisory body to the President and its responsibilities include the preparation of ten- and twenty-year Integrated Master Plans for the Gulf.

The Commission also has some executive powers, including the institutionalization of an integrated environmental permit and licensing system and an incentive system based on the `polluter pays' principle.

Requirements for effective coordination. There are many prerequisites for coordination to work effectively. Dick Osborne and Associates (1993) have listed the more important as being:

The establishment of effective channels of communication and coordination between line ministries and other stakeholders will, for example, allow for the following:

Mulberry fields with fish ponds in the Pearl River Delta are artificial ecological systems in the Chinese tradition, China

Pens for rearing fish, Thailand

Role of line ministries in ICAM. Staff in line ministries are conventionally sectorally oriented. For ICAM, however, they should understand the need for a holistic approach and be professionally equipped to discuss and negotiate with officials in other agencies. In order to achieve this, training courses should be designed for staff on the need for ICAM and the role of their line ministry in ICAM as a whole and in specific ICAM plans.

Ministries will naturally wish to protect and promote the interests of their respective sectors. They have the incentive and are in a good position to observe the impacts in their sector that are generated internally or arise from activities in other sectors.50 

The aims of line ministries should be to:

As well as seeking to remove or mitigate the generation of environmental changes that have harmful effects in other sectors, line ministry managers should seek to remove externalities that are internalized within the sector in which they occur.

Several potential weaknesses in institutional arrangements for ICAM will have to be overcome by the coordinating mechanism. Line ministries will not always have the necessary expertise and resources available and they will naturally tend, in the beginning, to give priority to purely sectoral considerations.51  Appropriate priorities will become clearer once the objectives and policies of the integrated coastal area strategy have been incorporated into the objectives and policies of each sectoral plan.

Role of resource users and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There are several prerequisites for the successful involvement of resource users:

Local NGOs can be valuable partners by:

Local management will have all the more chance of success when the area devolved or under co-management is relatively small and clearly defined, with a relatively small number of resource users and where rights of ownership or use are exclusive. Commonly managed fisheries of lagoons or areas of reef, for example, frequently work well when the appropriate institutions are in place (Willmann and Insull, 1993).

In many countries, line ministries with responsibility for the management of renewable resources are entering increasingly into a range of cooperative partnerships with resource users for the management of resources. Such partnerships must be based on clear responsibilities and accountabilities on the part of all those involved. In these cases, line ministries will already be working with the resource users. Wide-ranging and true participation (rather than consultation in a predetermined context) with resource users, and a demonstrable willingness of planners to take account of resource users' attitudes and preferences by involving the users in the management process, will usually give good results.

While devolved management is frequently the most effective approach to management, the burden on government continues to be high. Local managers require a constant flow of information on which they can base their management decisions and, frequently, they require support in the form of enforcement by government, especially to stop encroachment by `outsiders'. In most situations, the institutions responsible for implementation of management require considerable training and technical support. For these reasons, the recognition of the role of line ministries by resource users is important, especially as certain vital functions can be fulfilled only by the public sector. The involvement of resource users in coastal management is relatively more effective where the state is ready to grant exclusive ownership or user rights to a group of resource users and where the conditions outlined above can be met.52 

Women at work in a field in the Tirana plain, Albania

Creating a constituency for ICAM. ICAM often calls for detailed knowledge of conditions in the area, perhaps extending back over many years. This information will rarely be available in quantitative form, gathered over many years. Local knowledge is an invaluable complementary source of information, and institutional mechanisms for ensuring that the knowledge of resource users is properly taken into account should be a concern of line ministries.

BOX A.10
Community-based resource management and co-management

In the past, resources were always community-managed. It is therefore not surprising that community-based resource management still tends to succeed today, when properly set up.

When devolving management responsibility on local communities, it is always advisable to draw on indigenous knowledge and resource management practices. In some cases, it may be necessary to adopt enabling legislation. Similarly, assistance may be needed for communities to develop managerial and organizational skills adapted to current conditions.

Usually, when direct government intervention in resource management is deemed necessary, government staff's attitudes and approach will need to be seriously revised. Local management will not work if civil servants maintain a superior approach and consider local people as beholden to them.

In South Asia, fisheries communities have undergone significant socio-economic and cultural change as a result of their incorporation into larger national and international processes that have altered community relationships in coastal villages. Support for overcoming these dislocations was provided through measures including aquarian reform and community development aimed at building new relationships. Aquarian reform consisted of granting stewardship to workers and owner-workers so that the coastal waters would regain their status as community property.

Community development involved better organization of fish marketing in order to increase incomes, better credit arrangements, access to improved education and health facilities, and skills training for the young and for women.

Source: extracted from Pomeroy, 1994.

The resolution of resource-use issues almost invariably results in losers as well as winners. When resource users are required to reduce or halt activities that they may have been undertaking for generations, it is essential that they fully understand the reasons. This understanding can only come about if they are fully involved in all the processes. Line ministries should ensure that resource users are represented in the planning committees that are established to support the planning process in ICAM.53 

When resource users are required to surrender resource use, appropriate compensation54  should be provided. Line ministries should include adequate provisions in their budgets, along with the necessary legal and institutional adjustments. It is never easy to achieve fairness and equity in such situations.

Successful management of natural resources requires a conviction on the part of those affected by management change that they can influence the process and that the proposed management measures are equitable and fair. Without this perception of legitimacy, or constituency building (Olsen, 1993), there is a strong likelihood that proposed management measures will fail. Indeed, those affected may even sabotage the measures.

Rural radio extension, Madagascar

Creating a constituency for ICAM is one of the chief aspects of the policy process. Support from the private sector, including individual stakeholders, and from communities and special interest groups is essential. Accordingly, community leaders, members of the community and trade organizations should be targeted.

The full participation of resource users will often highlight conflicting interests affecting coastal resources that are difficult to reconcile. Through mediated dialogue, perceptions could be confronted and negotiated among stakeholders to define long-term patrimonial objectives in coastal areas.

BOX A.11
The steps of the patrimonial approach

Inception (requires a mediator to stimulate dialogue and negotiation):

  • identification of stakeholders, including interested but absent third parties;
  • debate on present trends;
  • debate on the ecological, economic, and social (non-)acceptability of present trends.

Definition of goals and objectives (requires mediation):

  • discussion of very long-term (patrimonial) objectives (25 to 30 years);
  • legitimization process where stakeholders appropriate the product of their negotiations and establish a `social contract';
  • ritualization (a ceremonial proper to the local culture).

Strategy formulation (requires mediation and expert advice, namely for scientific evaluation of scenarios and appraisal of economic feasibility):

  • stakeholders elaborate medium-term management scenarios towards the very long-term objective (including uses, access, control, transferability, distribution rules and sanctions);
  • selection of management tools;
  • legitimization of the result through public restitution of terms of agreement to a recognized authority.

Plan formulation 

Executive details to implement decisions taken on agreed scenarios, including establishing a negotiated management structure. For example, tasks incumbent on the structure are to implement decisions taken regarding matters such as control over access and to exclude outsiders, notifying the applicable sanctions to the authority responsible for enforcement.

Source: adapted from Weber, 1996.

Patrimonial mediation55  seeks to inverse the process of negotiation by obtaining the common agreement of a group on the long-term future they desire. The quest for agreement about the long-term, as an attempt to put short- and medium-term undertakings into perspective, endows a community heritage dimension where actions can be organized to shape the future along common objectives. The aim is to enable the actors to compare and discuss their perceptions (which are equally legitimate and equally subjective) and the commonly held disagreement on the prolongation of present trends. Once the goal is agreed upon by a group, and thus legitimized, short-term scenarios of use, access and control of resources can be established, including comparative viability and costs. Agreed scenarios thus transform the desired patrimonial objective into possible `constitutional' choices. Ultimately, a management structure is established to implement decisions taken on agreed scenarios. This approach, which requires much patience and skill, ensures interaction and self-mobilization and is based on an endogenous social contract where actors conform to the product of negotiation.56 

BOX A.12
Patrimonial mediation in Madagascar

In Madagascar, the policy of transferring the management of renewable natural resources, under contract, to rural communities has, since October 1996, been governed by Law 96-025 providing for local management of renewable resources. The management of forests, wild fauna and flora (both aquatic and terrestrial), water and rangeland coming within the state domain or territorial communities can thus be handed over to local entities.

The Law creates a regulatory framework for the so-called GELOSE (gestion locale securis_e - security in local resource management) contracts. Such contracts are entered into by the state along with the commune or the base rural community. A contract provides for:

  • the transfer, under contract, of the management of a renewable natural resource within a demarcated community area to a given rural community;
  • the rendering of relatively secure land tenure (by public record), where all parties will have been able to make an input, regarding individual or community land occupancy throughout the territory concerned.

The objective is to put an end to uncontrolled access by making rural communities responsible for the resources in their area. A contract can only be stipulated at the free request of the community concerned. The contract must promote the use of the resource and the enhancement of its value for the benefit of such communities or communes. A contract implies that negotiation has taken place between the government, the community occupying the territory (commune) and the local community - on the basis of patrimonial mediation. The community or commune is assisted in the process by a qualified environment mediator of its choice. The mediator is chosen by the rural community on the basis of personal qualities, and has no power over the parties beyond the confidence generated in others by an ability to listen and mediate. There is no a priori preclusion of any actor in the social or economic life of the locality. The process inevitably requires consideration on the part of the community as to the long-term use of the different areas making up the territory it occupies. The relevant contracts are made for a trial period of three years and are renewable. Administrative monitoring is provided for ten years.

The commune awarded the contract ensures that obligations are complied with. It is also required to secure exclusive access for members of the community undertaking the management. The GELOSE contract ratifies the use and management rights of the rural community as holders of the usufruct.

The formula endows the legitimate with the force of law; it allows communities to become prime beneficiaries and dynamic elements in local development. It also seeks to release local initiative and restore assurance and responsibility to local actors.

GELOSE is a constituent - horizontal - element in the Environment Plan of Madagascar and is associated with the support for regionalized management and land area approach that is required to facilitate regionally negotiated planning of development activities.

Source: Babin et al., 1997.

Shrimp fishing boats ready for the next catch after some weeks of closed season in order to protect the fry, Hell-Ville harbour, Madagascar.

2.3.5 Building capacities for ICAM

Institutional capacity to manage the ICAM process.57  The institutions contributing to ICAM should have the collective capacity to allocate resources according to the goals and strategic approach adopted. The engine to drive the process includes well-trained and experienced staff. The capacity to manage the process can be developed as part of the strategy. Not all individual participating organizations will - or should be able to - satisfy this requirement, but it is important that the system as a whole is able to deliver the following services (Olsen, 1993; Dick Osborne and Associates, 1993):

Government line agencies rarely have expertise in participatory methods and integrated natural resource management. Thus, forming a team that is proficient in strategy and methods requires in-service training. During implementation, local staff should be exposed to a variety of learning experiences, including brief courses, internal workshops and seminars, experience-exchange events and study tours. It is important that training of local staff be included in the terms of reference of consultants (national or international). In addition, the participatory monitoring and evaluation process should have a continuing educational and formative orientation by identifying lessons learned and further learning needs. A mix of hiring ad hoc project staff and mobilizing professionals from relevant line agencies and institutions would allow higher efficiency and wider dissemination of the approach among local institutions.

BOX A.13
Key GESAMP58  findings on the role of natural and social sciences in ICAM

Among the findings, the most salient points are as follows:

  • competent management of a complex ecosystem interrelating with significant human activities will have more chances of success where the scientific basis for processes is known;
  • science can support ICAM by taking an issue-driven approach in which scientists seek to provide managers with information useful for solving relevant problems;
  • close and continuing working relationships between managers and scientists are essential in determining the required information that can be provided by natural or social scientists;
  • there are limits to the ability of science to provide the information required by managers for setting objectives and targets and taking actions in situations of uncertainty; recognizing this and establishing appropriate mechanisms would avoid tensions between managers and scientists;
  • managers and scientists should work together to achieve community support and the participation of resource users in the design and conduct of research related to management decisions that will affect them;
  • research related to management problems should ensure that the objectives are realistic, taking account of available resources and the explicitly stated time-frame;
  • science funded by ICAM programmes should be subject to peer review;
  • relevant scientific knowledge that is available elsewhere should be documented before new research is initiated;
  • simple and inexpensive technology can often effectively meet the needs of scientists and managers;
  • the presentation and application of science must be sensitive to the local culture;
  • developing countries should develop a national cadre of natural and social scientists to ensure that the available science can be applied, whether or not foreign scientists are involved.

58 The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is an advisory body of experts nominated by the following sponsoring agencies and programmes in the United Nations System: the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC), the World Metereological Organization (WMO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Source: extracted from GESAMP, 1996a.

Because coastal problems involve a range of actors and a multiplicity of complex interrelated issues, an institutional capacity to resolve conflicts and institutional supervision will be required to manage the participation and relationships of interested parties and the different interests represented, as well as to identify suitable options and agree on objectives and means to attain them. Depending on local circumstances (traditional practices and principles) consideration should also be given to establishing funding mechanisms for conflict resolution (in order to cover the costs of appointing mediators or experts, or simply of running negotiations) and providing training and education for third parties to mediate, facilitate or arbitrate in disputes. Administrative procedures and dispute resolution offices or commissions might also be established to anticipate and resolve conflicts arising within and between institutions.59 

BOX A.14
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Programme, Australia

The leading goal of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Programme is the conservation of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The major issue is the runoff from farmland of nutrient- and sediment-enriched water.

High levels of cooperation have been achieved between the Authority, farmers' organizations and state government agencies responsible for primary industry. Experience has shown that if cooperation is achieved in carrying out research into a problem, it is likely to extend into defining and applying ways of resolving the problem.

The Authority has established a reefwide monitoring programme and a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary research programme which aims to develop a complete understanding of the origins of these nutrients and sediments so that corrective action can be taken if necessary. The objective in relation to land-based sources of pollution has been to limit them to levels that do not cause significant changes in the reef ecosystem using as a baseline information collected in 1929-1931.

The most important element in the strategy has been the involvement of farmers' organizations in cooperative research projects with the Authority and other organizations. Research has shown greatly increased nutrient levels since 1932, the sources of these nutrients and their effect on corals. The research also showed that levels of erosion and nutrient loss from sugar cropping can be (greatly) reduced by changes in farming practice - changes that have been voluntarily adopted by most sugar farmers on irrigated land on the coast of Queensland.

Source: extracted from Kelleher, 1996.

The role of research and environmental information. Identifying critical issues in ICAM requires information.60  Taking decisions on the most appropriate use of resources usually requires additional information. The contributions of science and, in particular, research, have been specifically addressed by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).61 

In most countries, there is scope for developing ICAM strategies without high additional expenditures on data collection and research for information. In the early years of ICAM in many countries, it is better to focus on issues that are resolvable in the short to medium term and do not depend on long research programmes for a solution. Depending on local conditions, a phased approach to ICAM can be adopted, with increasing levels of integration and complexity.

In many countries, ICAM data collection and research can usually be implemented by existing research institutions. Often, however, a redirection of research is necessary and this may present difficult choices. In many of these situations, it is very useful to consult users of research in conjunction with scientists about the process by which research plans are drawn up and on the setting of information and research needs. This should not be done by researchers alone. A consultative process can result in additional research capacity becoming available within existing budgets while, in cases where research is handicapped by lack of laboratory equipment or a travel budget, finding additional funds for ICAM information collection and research may require a shift in budgetary allocations to research.

Equally difficult problems may arise in many countries over institutional responsibilities and capacities, both of which may be linked to the issues of financial resources. With regard to the former, the monitoring of water quality, for example, may be primarily in the immediate interest of the fisheries or the tourism sector and in the longer-term interest of society as a whole. It would be unreasonable, however, and probably beyond the financial resources of the sector institutions concerned, for the fisheries or the tourism line ministries to bear full financial responsibility for water quality monitoring. As mentioned in earlier sections, a part of the coordination process is to reach agreement on respective roles, jurisdictional boundaries, provision of resources and responsibilities.

In many countries, the immediate constraint on ICAM is the prevalence of weak institutional capacities. Shortages of skills and experience are often less severe in subject areas related to sectoral disciplines than cross-sectoral ones (e.g. environmental and social sciences) and therefore it will be difficult to apply holistic and participatory approaches. These comparative strengths and weaknesses reflect earlier perceived needs in line ministries and research institutions when the need for economists trained in, for example, the valuation of natural resources, was not apparent. Staff weaknesses can be solved by retraining of selected staff, either in-country or outside the country and/or recruitment of suitably trained new staff.

Information/indicator pyramid

Note: Measurements of events or phenomena produce raw data. After analyses, primary data produces statistics. Statistics become indicators when they are tied to a specific problem or application. If indicators are aggregated according to a formula, they become indices (e.g. Human Development Index, Air Pollution Index, UV Radiation Hazard Index, Water Quality Index).

Source: WRI, 1996.

A rainbow over the hills of the Blue Mountains, looking north from Keith Hill, Jamaica

2.3.6. Sustainability indicators

Indicators are increasingly used to provide a convenient description of the current state or condition of a resource, as well as to gauge performance and predict responses. They need to be developed according to their perceived applications and this requires reliable statistics and raw data.62  Indicators are used to monitor and evaluate what is changing, the processes by which change is occurring and the sustainability of beneficial changes. Different types of indicators exist, depending on the scale (global, national, local) and the level of aggregation.

Indicators of ecological sustainability (e.g. land suitability, pollution impacts) can be combined with economic data to construct scenarios based on available information. By including in the cost of production the cost of the deterioration in the natural resource base, policy choices can be made aimed at mitigating the negative impacts on natural resources and this will help to allocate resources more efficiently. Placing a reasonable value on the costs and benefits of preserving natural resources is essential in order to make a workable estimate of externalities or indirect costs.

Human development indicators. Indices to measure human development and the quality of human life are proposed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index. The index combines factors such as longevity (associated with health and nutrition) and educational attainment with income, to generate a weighted index of `essential' living standards. Factors of quality of life cover basic human biophysical needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and satisfaction of basic socio-economic needs, such as access to essential goods and services (health, education) and equity in employment, income and wealth distribution. But quality of life also includes activities that have an impact on the environment or on other factors, and that are perceived as benefits (e.g. recreation opportunities, biological diversity or aesthetics), costs or risks (e.g. exposure to, and magnitude of, environmental contamination or hazards).

Environmental indicators. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has developed indicators for conserving life-support systems and biological diversity, ensuring the sustainable use of renewable resources, minimizing the depletion of non-renewable resources and keeping within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.63 

Performance indicators. There is a growing understanding that sustainability depends on the emphasis placed by development programmes on enhancing the capacity of groups, organizations or societies to understand and solve the problems they face. The indicators needed to measure changes in the capacity or the performance of groups, organizations or societies are not well established but efforts are beginning (e.g. the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD) to develop process-oriented indicators as well as effective systems and tools for performance reviews. In the case of monitoring, the question is whether only the `what' should be monitored (i.e. outputs and results) or also the `how' (the process as such - systemic, participatory, consensual - including the role and responsibilities of all the parties involved). Hence, performance indicators might include information on coordination mechanisms, performance incentives and standards, available financial resources, control over allocation, skills, information exchange mechanisms, etc.

Interdependence indicators. Efforts are also under way to develop indicators of dynamic relationships, where the most important indicator is the degree of interdependence between human beings and the natural environment. This approach is based on the recognition of the fact that individuals' `dependence' on local resources is related to the degree of capital mobility. For example, the flexibility entrepreneurs have within the globalized economy to move investments rapidly from one country to another. When capital is not mobile, tenants would tend to preserve the value of an environmental asset in time, and derive the exclusive benefits of their work and investments. When capital is mobile, and social constraints are lacking, the investor has little interest in preserving the ecosystem and the owner would tend, consciously, to continue an unsustainable practice (i.e. maximizing short-term yields) and then move on to another area to exploit (Weber, 1996).

Cow grazing near swamp at Tangalla, Sri Lanka

Sea-salt extraction, Thailand

Pressure-state-response indicators. The most widely used framework for sustainability indicators at present is the pressure/state/response (PSR) indicator64  which addresses the chain of events that lead to environmental impacts:

The pressure-state-response (PSR) framework

The PSR framework provides a convenient representation of the linkages between the pressures exerted on natural resources by human activities (pressure box), the changes in quality of the resource (state box) and the responses of these changes as society attempts to release the pressure or to rehabilitate resources that have been degraded (response box). The interchanges among these form a continuous feedback mechanism that can be monitored and used for assessment of natural resource quality.

Because of local requirements and priorities, indicators should be location-specific and geo-referenced at appropriate scales using geographic information system (GIS) techniques.

Source: extracted from FAO, 1997b

In response to the call made in Agenda 21 of the Earth Summit to develop and use indicators of sustainable development, the Commission on Sustainable Development has produced a set of methodology sheets for indicators, following the PSR framework. Those developed or in progress for coastal areas include three driving force-type indicators - population growth in coastal areas, discharges of oil into coastal waters and releases of nitrogen and phosphorus into coastal waters - and two state-type indicators - maximum sustainable yields for fisheries and algae index (UN, 1996). No response-type indicators are proposed but ICAM effectiveness in improving coastal ecosystems and livelihoods could be a useful consideration.

Pressure and response indicators are generally considered at sectoral (or subsectoral) level and therefore relate directly to the policy arena. State indicators relate to changes in the condition and quality of natural resources. The application of the PSR approach to ICAM entails identifying key coastal issues for each cluster of indicators, in particular for the policy-related questions that must be answered. After identifying the shortlist of strategic indicators associated with key issues (which would normally reflect priorities as perceived from the various stakeholders), targets for each indicator should be developed, as well as thresholds where the system may become unacceptable. Monitoring with reference to targets and thresholds makes it possible to assess sectoral performance in relation to coastal maintenance or degradation. In cases where reliable goals and thresholds cannot be developed, trends in performance still provide useful information.

The major shortcoming of the PSR framework is that it does not capture the interactions and trade-offs between the economic and environmental dimensions of the development equation. State indicators fail to capture processes, trends and performance. PSR relates better to the long term (e.g. when addressing long-standing issues, where pressures have been exerted for a long time, leading to a chronic `state of nature' that reflects a degree of dynamic equilibrium between pressure, response and state). The PSR concept does not capture the direction of the trend in the pressure and state, the rate of change of the pressure or state or the time lag between the moment the pressure is applied (or changed), and the moment at which the effect is fully reflected in the state. Garcia (1996) proposes to describe the situation of an exploitable system in terms of pressure, state and response, by indicators of level, change and structure.65 

BOX A.15
Indicators of level, change and structure

Indicators of level reflect the spatial and temporal evolution of key system variables expressed as absolute values (e.g. fishing capacities, revenues, employment, number and importance of conflicts) or in the form of ratios (e.g. between virgin and present biomass, or between fishery and agricultural revenues). They measure the final response of the system or of one of its components. They integrate a large number of interactions and reflect directly the performance of the system, if used in conjunction with peer-established sustainability criteria. However, indicators of level (e.g. stock abundance) in isolation may not provide information on whether the system is stable, improving or worsening, nor on the action eventually required.

Indicators of change indicate the direction and rate of change of key indicators. Combined with indicators of level, they give a dynamic perspective to otherwise static indicators and would be particularly useful for early warning systems.

Indicators of structure refer to the functional elements of a system. When referring to institutions, they are called institutional indicators. The sustainable nature of an exploitation system, management set-up or development strategy can be assessed against a checklist of desirable and undesirable system properties relating to:

  • objectives retained for management or development (e.g. sectoral production targets, requirements for environmental conservation);
  • the management planning process with its institutions and mechanisms (e.g. availability of data, establishment of mechanisms for effective people's participation, existence of dispute resolution mechanisms);
  • the management approach and measures (e.g., access regulations, economic incentives/disincentives);
  • management implementation (e.g. built-in process of periodic evaluation, surveillance system).

Source: extracted from Garcia, 1996.

Selection of indicators. Not everything that happens can or should be monitored. Data collection and monitoring should be pragmatic and based on selection criteria such as timeliness, relevance and cost-effectiveness (See Box A.16). In addition to agreement on selection criteria, consensus is required on the data and derivation methodology to be used in establishing indicators, including a delimitation of the allowable fluctuation of the indicator. Indicators could be directly representative, indicative of, or a proxy for, the factor considered important. Complex changes may be highlighted by choosing a limited number of suitable indicators that are regularly monitored and compared with previous readings back to the baseline for each one. It is therefore essential for baseline conditions to be established at the very outset for people's attitudes (both users' groups and advisory staff) and socio-economic and biophysical conditions. To determine the nature, direction and rates of change, assessments need to be done on a recurring basis and compared with baseline data. After each round of monitoring, the results are compared with the baseline condition, differences (if any) are analysed, trends identified and feedback provided to management.

BOX A.16
Selection of sustainability indicators

Among the criteria guiding the selection of sustainability indicators for ICAM are the following:

  • Policy relevance: ensure the indicators address environmental changes of primary concern in the country or area where they are being applied.
  • Predictability: provide information that anticipates environmental change and thus allows decisions to be taken before change becomes irreversible.
  • Interdependency: provide information that clearly links cause and effect and reflects the dynamism between the ecological, social and economic environments in order to allow a better understanding of how they affect each other and the driving forces that need to be measured.
  • Measurability: provide information expressed in quantitative or qualitative terms so it can be either convertible to a monetary value (and therefore related to national accounts) or used for informed decision-making.
  • Performance: ensure human and institutional capacity are able to manage the policy and planning process effectively through participatory and transparent approaches.

While the development of sustainability indicators is at a relatively early stage, it is possible to design and implement systems that provide decision-makers with the information necessary for resource management and for anticipating, and acting upon, change. `Menus' of potential indicators have been developed for specific sectors (health, agriculture, environment). However, there is a tendency to put aside those checklists of potential indicators and rely instead on the clear identification of specific problems to be solved in each specific case. The clear and precise identification of criteria used to describe a specific problem should lead to the identification of the specific indicators of change. (Le Blanc, 1997).

One difficulty in selecting (and aggregating) indicators is related to value judgement. Scientific evidence and a precautionary approach, as well as considerations of local cultural preferences, should play a central role in the process of achieving agreement on indicators.

Villagers help to pull a fishing net, which has been set in a semi-circle, from open boats in the Arabian Sea about 500 m off the beach, India

Mapping and analysis of remote sensing data, India


The ICAM process evolves through successive completion of cycles. Each cycle addresses management issues, formulates and implements strategies and plans, and monitors and evaluates performance.

The first cycle usually begins with the most urgent issues and has a limited geographical and institutional coverage. Through successive cycles, the scope and scale of the strategy and plan are increased to incorporate new and more complex problems and stakeholders. Performance review (including monitoring and evaluation) is an integral element throughout the process. Performance review not only suggests regular revisions and adjustments during the implementation phase, but represents the motor that moves ICAM plans into successive cycles. Thus, as achievements are consolidated and confidence is gained, there will be an evolution from a small ICAM (demonstration) project to an expanded application leading to a fully fledged, effective, national coastal programme.66 

The end products of the ICAM policy and planning process are the formulation and implementation of a strategy. As stressed earlier in this document67  there is no single way to organize ICAM strategies and plans. Whether a given country chooses to start with a local demonstration project, coordinate `expanded' sectoral plans (that contain an ICAM part), or create an entirely new integrated plan, it is important that the process leading to the formulation of the coastal strategy involves all stakeholders so that any implementation route follows agreed goals and objectives.

These guidelines focus on the issues and requirements that lead to plan formulation. The assumption is that an appropriate strategic basis and plan(s) will lead to sound implementation.

ICAM iterative process

The ICAM process should be viewed as long-term, continuous and iterative, as shown in Figure A.11. The process is divided into steps, for which individual definition varies slightly between authorities but that, in principle, are as follows:

Throughout the process, negotiation will constitute a base for sound participatory decision-making, and conflict resolution should be based on the dominant cultural values. Negotiation, at different levels and involving a variety of actors, will be necessary between: the different views represented by sectoral planners; the different interest groups present in coastal communities; different population groups, with various expectations for solutions, who face a range of different institutional, operational and financial constraints; the needs felt by local actors and the normative needs as identified by the technical staff of collaborating institutions.68 

2.4.1 Inception

Concept paper. In general, ICAM is initiated with a concept paper. In most instances, the originating agency will have an appropriate mandate, for example, for regional planning or, perhaps, for the environment. One of the reasons for this is that such an agency would be likely to have a cross-sectoral mandate to institute the iterative process involving all the stakeholders likely to be involved. However, an inception paper may be produced by, for example, a sectoral agency or a group of individuals outside the public sector with a strong interest in the conservation and management of the coastal area; their aim would be to persuade other government agencies that integrated management is required.69  The agency that initiates the ICAM process will not necessarily be the one that will subsequently lead it.

The inception paper should identify the reasons for adopting an ICAM approach, describe in broad terms what it is intended to achieve, identify the main actors (line ministries, local municipalities, resource users, NGOs, etc.), indicate how the proposal will be developed, identify a possible coordinating mechanism, and estimate the cost and time required to develop an ICAM strategy.

The preparation of this paper should be an iterative process in which it is developed and refined by government agencies in cooperation with all other key interested parties. It is important that all of the affected groups be identified early and invited into the process from the very beginning.

The decision to proceed should be taken by the government, including the line ministries with an interest in the planning and management of the coastal area(s) concerned. At this point, regional efforts or international assistance can play a catalytic role (Post and Lundin, 1996).

Committees. After approval has been given by the government, the line ministries involved, together with representatives of other stakeholders, might form a steering committee which will fulfil a guiding and facilitating function throughout the process. In addition to the steering committee, which will include senior officials representing their ministries and civil society group leaders, a management committee might be established, comprised of representatives of those with an active concern in the planning process, which will coordinate work on a day-to-day basis.

2.4.2 Performance review

The pitfalls of the main evaluation methods currently in use (ex post economic analysis, subjective scoring methods, impact evaluation and multicriteria analysis) are that they are usually carried out when programmes/projects have been completed and that they are weak in the evaluation of externalities and the effects on those who bear them, therefore they do not detect the longer-term impact of an initiative. While evaluation is based on results at, or soon after, project completion, externalities often become evident only after several years. Consequently, evaluation does not enable feedback during the implementation stage.

In the case of a long-term programme such as ICAM, it may be appropriate to carry out periodic monitoring and evaluation to provide information for the remaining period of implementation, as well as an input into the next generation of policy measures. To attain the highest level of participation and commitment, stakeholders could gradually become their own monitors and evaluators, after appropriate training. The context will determine the timing and smooth integration into the process evolution, the choice of methods and the contracting of the proper resources.

Performance review comprises participatory monitoring and evaluation70. Performance review has two focuses: the assessment of the implementation process, with special concern for participants' and/or sectors' collaborative relationships; and the evaluation of preliminary results, including the technical quality of the work, the cost/benefit balance and the initial outcome of joint efforts to improve natural resource management.

Participatory monitoring is the systematic recording and periodic analysis of information that has been chosen by stakeholders. Its main purpose is to provide information during the life of the project, so that adjustments and/or modifications can be made if necessary. It is important that monitoring starts at the early stage of articulation and implementation. It will assist, initially, in refining the intended achievements expressed in the concept paper and, later in the process, in: redefining goals and objectives; developing monitoring questions; determining direct and/or indirect indicators that will answer the monitoring questions; deciding which information gathering tools are needed; who will do the monitoring and when periodic analysis will take place; modifying organizational arrangements; and reassigning resources. Downstream, it will assist in evaluating the progress of the process itself.

Participatory evaluation is an opportunity for stakeholders to stop and reflect on the past in order to make decisions about the future. It allows stakeholders to plan what is to be evaluated, decide how evaluation will be done, carry out the evaluation, analyse the information and present the evaluation results. Evaluation must involve all those associated in the project and their collective counsel should be elicited regarding the way in which the project can be improved in the next phase. Participatory evaluation takes into account overall and immediate objectives, their continued relevance and the effectiveness of the activities. Stakeholders are also required to review their own performance. As such, evaluation becomes part of the strategy as an immediate mid-course correction. Action is therefore inherent to the process and the evaluator is a process facilitator. In this way, there is an orientation towards the future and towards planning (and the investment of time and effort in change) and evaluation parallel planning.

The whole planning process needs to take account of issues such as: economic valuation of environmental costs and benefits; risk and uncertainty; anticipation of events that might seriously affect performance (including policy changes and other exogenous factors); and identification of the performance indicators to be monitored. Features vital to achieving sustainability include the generation of information during implementation, and building a consensus (or coalition) for change among the stakeholders, as well as creating problem-solving and institutional capacities. Participatory monitoring and evaluation can strongly contribute to achieving these. 

BOX A.17
Participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation

Participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation (PAME)74  is an adaptive and dynamic approach that encourages, supports and strengthens communities' existing abilities to identify their own needs and objectives and then monitor and evaluate to adjust these within a project time frame. PAME is a combination of three interlinked components: a concept, backed up by participatory methods and participatory tools for information gathering.

Four methods are used in the PAME approach:

  • assessment: community site selection, community problem analysis, participatory baselines;
  • monitoring: participatory monitoring and on-going evaluation;
  • evaluation: participatory evaluation events (i.e. stop and reflect on what has happened in the past in order to make decisions about the future);
  • feedback: analysis of information and communication of results.

These are valuable means for:

  • providing feedback on the joint decision-making process with the indigenous point of view;
  • documenting local actors' perception of the work performed;
  • changing attitudes;
  • developing a broader grassroots capacity-building strategy - reviewing joint efforts in a controlled setting can provide local actors with several opportunities (for discovering their own potential and limitations);
  • discussing the nature and origin of internal and external conflicts;
  • strengthening capacity for negotiation within and outside the community.

74 For further reading, see Davis-Case, 1989.


2.4.3 Data collection and research

Coastal profile. The product of the data collection and research stage is termed the coastal profile by some authorities and is referred to below by this term. The purpose of this stage is to collect the baseline information and seek to facilitate an understanding of the relationships between key factors in order to identify and prioritize management issues properly (Scura et al., 1992). A typical coastal profile includes information highlighting the problems and causes for concern in the coastal area, related to the social, biophysical, institutional and organizational characteristics of the area. This information is used in the subsequent stage (Analysis).71 

The preparation of a coastal profile is analogous to the sector review, or stocktaking stage, in conventional sector studies. As in sector studies, it is important to focus on essential information.

Based on the criteria set during the initial performance review for information collection and indicator selection,72  the information required may be categorized as being concerned with:

Biophysical characteristics. The purpose of this part of the profile is to establish the environmental health of the area and its impact upon the coastal communities specifically and upon society at large.

Biological information will include: biological resources (e.g. biomass, primary and secondary productivity, diversity, distribution and abundance of living resources, indicator species); major habitats and ecosystems (including ecological relationships that determine productivity); reproduction sites (e.g. nurseries, exchange zones); and the presence of special species and areas (e.g. rare, threatened, endangered).

Physical information will include: geomorphology (coastal type and nature); coastal oceanography (tides, sedimentary dynamic); coastal climatology (winds, rainfall); hydrography (watersheds, sediment inputs); surface hydrology (hydric balance, soil occupation); topology hydrogeology (flux); and geochemistry (mineral elements).

While much of the above information will be provided by the economic sectors using coastal resources (e.g. agriculture will have readily available information on soil, topography, water supply, land use, climate; forestry will have information on the status of coastal forest resources and the carrying capacity for wildlife; fisheries will have information on patterns and trends in the magnitude and distribution of fish populations, water quality, changes in critical habitats, etc.), a particular effort should be made to provide information on patterns of natural resource use in space and time, flows, variability, resilience, interactions and impacts.73 

Social and economic issues. In this part of the profile the aim is to evaluate the impact of human activities on coastal ecosystems and the demand put on coastal resources. Human activities in terms of population (de-mographic occupation, employment), infrastructures, economic and qualitative values of resource use patterns (e.g. urbanization, industrialization, tourism, mining, fisheries, agriculture), land and sea tenure, existing types of management, and historic and current use patterns, will be assessed.

Social problems and their causes will be identified. In particular, attention should be focused on problems that arise from actual or potential competition for resources (or conflict over space), resource dependency, the incidence of externalities, and relevant economic linkages. Different user types and priority needs, potential benefits, constraints, the number of people deriving livelihoods from coastal resources and alternatives should also be considered.

Measurement of the contribution of coastal activities to household income could be made by establishing baseline data on: return on capital; return on labour; return on land; gross returns; cash expenditure; labour demand through the year; and assessment of economic viability and risks. These will be used to monitor change through periodic reviews.

The assessment of factors that affect decisions on the use of coastal resources includes: market distortions and the effects of policies (e.g. prices, government intervention, subsidies, trade barriers and exchange rates); income distribution; land and other assets; and political accounting.

Governance characteristics. The purpose of this part of the profile is to identify the legal75  and institutional mechanisms that form the governance framework in order to identify constraints and opportunities for ICAM. A tabulation by the Untied States Environment Protection Agency of institutional information that might be sought includes the following:

Specific role of sectoral agencies. The roles of the line ministries in this stage are to ensure that available information is fed into the process and sectoral issues and that concerns are adequately taken into account. Resource planners and managers from relevant line ministries or agencies are valuable sources of information. Sector studies prepared by line ministries are often available and typically contain the most detailed and accurate information available at the time of their preparation.

Subsector-related (agriculture, forestry and fisheries) information to be included in a coastal profile may include:

Specific subsectoral information requirements are found in Parts B, C and D.

Overlay of different maps of the same location provided by GIS

Information requirements. In information collection, there is a need for a balance between subjective sources of information (perceptions of stakeholders) and objective ones (mainly quantitative primary data and secondary data). The latter consists of secondary data (obtained from existing sources) and primary information (obtained in the course of the preparation of the coastal profile).

Very often, there will be gaps in the information for the coastal profile that cannot be filled in the short term. Where research is required to fill gaps, it should be treated as it would be in a sectoral planning process, i.e. it should be included in the plan.

BOX A.18
Remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS)

Remote sensing covers all techniques related to the analysis and use of data from satellites (such as Meteosat, NOAA-AVHRR, Landsat, MOS-1, SPOT, ERS-1 and Soyouz) and of aerial photographs. Remote sensing can be extremely useful for assessing and monitoring the condition of coastal areas, particularly in archipelagos where conventional survey techniques are usually difficult and expensive. Remote sensing can also provide information on such topics as water quality in bays and estuaries, providing a better understanding of the ecology and biology in such areas. The traditional collection of biophysical parameters in coastal areas (especially by ground- or sea-based systems) is expensive and time-consuming and the information available to key users is often incomplete and inadequate. Furthermore, the information available at present is not adequate to permit a well-defined, geographic approach to managing the coastal environment or to distinguish between the impact of increased human activity and other impacts such as climate change. Analysis of remote sensing data can provide an important input to GIS.

Satellite earth observation data. These data integrate surface and earth observation measurements and data over time and can play a major role in providing information on quality parameters, covering particularly: the coastline (the single interpretation of the imagery could lead to an excellent and geometrically correct baseline map of the coast); the intertidal area (mapping principal vegetation categories such as grasslands and healthy and degraded mangroves); and the shallow-waters area, including bottom types (sparse and dense grass, as well as live and damaged coral, could be distinguished to a depth of 10 m) and bathymetry (up to 40 m depth). The derived information (including also primary productivity, chlorophyll concentration, temperature and turbidity) allows such practical applications as: updating nautical charts; localizing near-shore sea resources (e.g. shells, seaweeds); selecting potential sites for sea farming; assessing and monitoring the environment (particularly degraded resources); and assessing existing aquaculture activities (e.g. water-filled and idle ponds).

Compared with information acquired by traditional methods (e.g. aerial photographs) these data offer several advantages: they provide synoptic coverage of vast extents of coastline (from 3 600 to 34 000 km2 in one high-resolution satellite image, depending on the type of satellite); data can be acquired for the same area at a high rate of repetition (twice or three times a month) thus permitting monitoring; various wavelengths imagery, visible and non-visible, provide accurate information on vegetation conditions, even on shallow water features; data can be obtained in any part of the world without encountering administrative restrictions; and, from the economic point of view, satellite-derived information has been found to be two-thirds the cost of panchromatic aerial photographs but the execution times for mapping are the same (one year) for both techniques. Satellite data techniques stress the importance of using digital data and of having excellent ground support for calibration with accurately positioned sample points visited on the sea, near-shore and land. This approach enables a data source, currently limited to research laboratories and programmes, to be converted into valuable information for use in coastal decision-support systems. Such an approach has, therefore, both commercial and environmental benefits.76 

Geographic information systems. GIS are computer-assisted systems that can input, retrieve, analyse and display geographically referenced information useful for decision-making. They have been widely used for different types of natural renewable resources and protected area conservation and planning. In general, the main benefits include (Kam, et al., 1992):

  • the ability to integrate data of various types (graphic, textual, digital analogue) from a variety of sources, (e.g. overlays of social information on maps showing levels of resource depletion);
  • a greatly enhanced capacity for data exchange between different disciplines and sectors, compared with more established procedures;
  • a greatly enhanced capacity for data analysis compared to manual methods;
  • the ability to test and compare different scenarios in the computer;
  • the ability to update large amounts of data, including graphic information, quickly;
  • the ability to handle and store large volumes of data.

In its application to coastal planning, GIS can portray boundaries and deal with enormous differences in scale, especially when working with one map.

GIS software has developed rapidly in the last few years with object tool kits that enable domain-specific applications with GIS functionality to be developed quickly and efficiently. In addition, improvements in the capabilities of hardware and commercial off-the-shelf software have increased the potential access to such systems and reduced the time and cost of developing them. By taking advantage of these technological changes, it is now possible to obtain sophisticated graphical visualization of data and produce high-quality maps of environmental conditions.

The choice of a particular GIS for ICAM is dependent on the type of mapping that is required and the functions of the respective systems that are regarded as most appropriate to the particular application. In many situations, however, limitations on the use of GIS are not imposed by the functions of the relative systems but by the availability of appropriate data and the level of skill in using a system.

When GIS is used in ICAM, the coordinating agency must have the capacity to:

  • introduce a system, if one is not already in place;
  • train managers in its use;
  • maintain and update it;
  • familiarize line ministries in the coastal area with the type of information required and the forms in which it should be made available.

For line ministries, the imperatives are to:

  • understand the assistance that GIS can provide to them in their management and conservation roles;
  • provide the information required by GIS in the forms in which it is most useful.

76 For more detailed information see Lantieri, 1998; and Populus and Lantieri, 1991. Examples of coastal maps derived from satellite data are on pages 26 and 36.


Coordination between the different agencies involved in ICAM will allow the location of information sources. Where information is not readily available, concerted action will allow data generation needs in respective work plans and budgets to be taken into account or the use of information from other sectors participating in ICAM, thus avoiding the costly duplication of efforts.

The monitoring of data clearly imposes a burden on states, particularly poorer countries, even when it involves information that might be expected to be collected in the normal course of coastal management. While the biophysical data generally fall within the experience of scientists and officials in the relevant government agencies, the collection of socio-economic information, through surveys, rapid appraisal and sources of quantitative information, is often outside their experience. The responsible line ministries should link with other organizations that could provide such information or acquire the capacity to undertake this kind of work.

BOX A.19
Integrated coastal analysis and monitoring system (ICAMS)

The ICAMS project is supported by the European Commission and consortium partners (i.e. United Kingdom, Irish, Greek and international organizations such as FAO). The project stems from work carried out, both individually and collaboratively, by consortium members over many years. ICAMS is driven by the needs of end-users and integrates existing capabilities into its applications, including the use, as far as possible, of existing technologies. An evaluation of the entire programme will be made in the context of its relevance to European policies and international scientific programmes, and its potential for technology transfer to developing countries. To demonstrate that ICAMS is applicable to a range of coastal issues, the application aspect of the pilot project is divided into three separate, but related investigations, at different sites in Europe and with different environmental concerns, including coastal pollution, eutrophication and fisheries management.

Although there is general consensus that information derived from satellite ocean colour data could dramatically improve the information available on some biophysical parameters, there are barriers to its effective use that could threaten to confine the data to the research laboratory rather than allowing it to play an important role in the operational management of coastal areas. These barriers include poor access to data, limited frequency of measurement, absence of local calibration/validation, insufficient integration with other data sources and inadequate analysis and dissemination approaches. In particular, there is a wide gap between the potential user community for information on water quality and the means for delivering that information.

ICAMS proposes to bridge this gap by developing, testing and evaluating a system that will transform time series of oceanographic satellite imagery into water quality and resource maps of the coastal area. These environmental and resource maps will be used in comparison with maps and data of the human exploitation of similar coastal waters. Such detailed spatial and temporal data will provide a decision aid for end-users who manage the often conflicting demands of human exploitation that affect coastal water quality. They will also help to decide whether changes in water quality have been caused by weather conditions or by natural or human-related pollution sources.

More specifically, ICAMS will support: intelligent selection and ingestion of ocean colour and temperature data from several satellite sources; conversion into water quality information relevant to the needs of the pilot project end-users; integration and assimilation with a variety of other data from satellites, surface measurements and end-user archives in order to produce water quality maps; and end-user access to a comprehensive analysis package to visualize and manipulate the four-dimensional nature of the information. The data quality will be enhanced further by calibration through comparison with measurements from ships and buoys. Transmission of this information in nearly real time through a satellite data messaging system will also allow local interpolation of the results deriving from the available ocean colour coverage. The full potential of satellite imagery as a tool to monitor and analyse the coastal environment cannot be realized without the integrated, multivariate processing that characterizes ICAMS.


Coastal runoff plume simulation of the city of Los Angeles, USA. Sewers are the major source of coastal pollution. The red dots along the coast represent beaches.

Tools used in information collection include: published and unpublished reports of line ministries (referred to above), other secondary sources of information, public inquiries, participatory and rapid appraisal of coastal areas, biophysical tools, measuring and monitoring tools, and GIS.77 The tools and techniques used for public involvement are described briefly in Box A.20. A methodological framework for organizing and analysing information for ICAM has been developed by IOC and is shown in Figure A.13.

BOX A.20
Tools and techniques for public involvement

Participatory techniques create conditions for the exchange of knowledge, facilitate visualization of overall interactions and improve interdisciplinary teamwork. All techniques depend for their success on the ability of the facilitator to elicit group participation. The choice of particular methods and tools will depend on the tasks to be handled and the levels of society targeted and is therefore highly contextual.

Social communication and information dissemination. This includes the use of printed materials (brochures, newsletters, displays), the media (radio, television, newspapers), public information sessions and public information centres (open houses, site visits). The aim is to keep the public informed about what is being planned, and explain those plans.

Rapid appraisal. Rapid rural appraisal (RRA) and participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) approaches can gather local knowledge, assess attitudes and preferences, identify problems and brainstorm potential solutions. Some of the techniques and tools include:78 

  • preference ranking and scoring (e.g. matrix ranking, rating, sorting);
  • diagrams and graphics (e.g. Venn diagrams, flow charts, decision trees, pie charts);
  • mapping (e.g. thematic, resource or historical maps);
  • understanding process and change (e.g. time lines, seasonal calendars, process diagrams);
  • structured observation (e.g. transect walks);
  • checklists or semi-structured interviews targeting key informants or selected groups;
  • strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analyses;
  • meetings and workshops are of key importance to discussion, analysis of findings and restitution of results to the community;
  • rapid appraisal of coastal environments (RACE) modifies RRA techniques and allied modes of research to: hasten the analysis of management problems and issues during inception, verify the output of formal research during analysis and formulation, and assist formal monitoring and evaluation procedures.79 

Interactive analysis and planning. Social assessment (SA) is an iterative process that begins with stakeholders' analysis and involvement in the collection and analysis of information, the selection of priorities, design of plans, adjustment of early ideas and application of these plans. Objectives-oriented programme planning (ZOPP) involves a multidisciplinary team approach that studies multisectoral problems, discusses social groups and institutions' interests, forecasts anticipated impacts and risks and specifies the inputs and costs of the contributions required by each party. The jointly designed ZOPP is an aid for dialogue between partners concerning the aim and objective of their cooperation, and is the basis for a learning process that develops from analysing joint experiences. The process is supported by external moderators and incorporates the main interest groups and decision-makers.

Conflict resolution and management techniques. Facilitation, conciliation, negotiation, mediation and arbitration (described in Part E).

78 Related selected references: Davis-Case, 1989, Townsley, 1993; Pretty, 1997; GTZ, 1988.

79 For further reading, see Scura et al., 1992.


Government agencies and fishers' associations setting up a coordination body for coastal activities, Gambia

Methodological framework for organizing coastal information

Source: IOC/ICSU/WMO, 1997.

2.4.4 Analysis

An analysis for ICAM extends cross-sectorally to focus on the following:

Having regard to the fact that this stage is issue-driven, GESAMP has summarized the tasks to be addressed by an ICAM team, which should include the concerned line ministries, as follows:

Evaluation of problems. The first of these functions is related to the allocation of coastal resources. For example, if a lumber company is allowed to fell trees in the watershed and this will result in soil erosion which, in turn, may destroy a coral reef, in a sense the coral reef is being allocated to the lumber company.

In practice, most resource-allocation decisions are made on socio-political grounds, but the valuation of natural resources and social and economic analysis can be an important input into this process. Valuation and analysis can be used to identify who will benefit and who will lose and to show the costs and benefits of the proposed options and the alternatives. Analysis can also establish a common framework within which economic, social, cultural, political and ecological information can be evaluated on a common basis and management issues can be prioritized. In other words, valuation and analysis provide information to decision-makers to assist them in evaluating the trade-offs between development options that have environmental and social effects within or outside the sectors in which they arise.

Evaluation of institutional responses. The second of these functions is to determine what can be done about environmental problems and causes for concern.

One approach to this is to identify each problem or cause for concern with the appropriate parts of the institutional infrastructure. For example, the problem of agricultural runoff may be relevant to only three of the elements in the institutional infrastructure: relevant laws and regulations, the agriculture extension service, and public investment in environmental awareness programmes. In contrast, most elements in the institutional infrastructure, including for example, management of natural resources, land-use planning and financing mechanisms, may have to be called upon to address problems such as overexploitation of renewable natural resources.

Cross-referencing of problems and causes for concern with the relevant elements in the institutional infrastructure provides the basis for an analysis of the effectiveness of the response of institutions. As noted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the purpose of such an institutional analysis is not the overall effectiveness of the institutions being considered but the identification of their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the problems and causes for concern and the quality of their responses to a specific problem.

Evaluating coastal activities requires assessment of their positive and negative effects (socio-economic and environmental) in the context of the prevailing goals for sustainable development, national development and sectoral objectives. Tools used in this process include institutional capacity analysis system (Box A.21), cost-benefit analysis (Box A.22), multicriteria analysis (Box A.23), economic valuation of natural resources (Box A.24), environmental impact assessment and cumulative environmental impact assessment (Box A.6).

Crops in the Peruvian coastal flatlands that have been ruined by flooding, the eroded and deforested mountain sides having been unable to hold the rush of waters.

Rebuilding traditional terraces as part of soil conservation programme, Peru.

BOX A.21
Institutional capacity analysis system (ICAS)

The nature, strengths and weaknesses of organizations, as well as the context in which organizations function, need to be understood before interventions are planned and executed. The institutional capacity analysis system (ICAS) is a tool that helps to investigate specified capacities of organizations from the point of view of the particular functions the organization(s) will have to perform.

Essentially ICAS goes through three phases:

1. Determining the specific tasks to be carried out that derive directly from the stated objectives.

2. Assessing the institutional capacity gaps in the five most crucial dimensions of the institutions to be involved, which are:

  • the national (or other applicable) policy environment, laws and regulations;
  • inter-institutional relationships;
  • the `internal organization' (distribution of functions, internal organization and management, physical and financial capacity);
  • the appropriateness of personnel policies and reward arrangements;
  • skills, expertise, information (in relation to the tasks to be performed).

Thus, the analysis moves from the general context, via an analysis of the organization, to the specific skills and incentives required. Each dimension is scored on a five-point scale, indicating the severity of the `institutional capacity gap'.

3. Determining whether, taking account of the noted capacity gaps, the envisaged activities can take place. If so, deciding which particular gaps need to be addressed in order to achieve the objectives. This can result in an institutional development strategy that focuses on highly specific interventions aimed at overcoming any deficiencies.

ICAS centrally involves the staff of the concerned organizations. In fact, the preference is to train and work through them. The method makes use of standardized formats and semi-structured interviews.

Source: de Graaf, 1997.

BOX A.22
Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

CBA is a basic classical tool in project appraisal and will be familiar to many readers. In area planning, CBA has a role in providing an input into the decision-making process in relation to relatively large changes which are under consideration, such as the drainage of coastal wetlands and conversion of agricultural land for urban development. CBA involves an appraisal of costs and benefits; if benefits exceed costs, the project is, in principle, acceptable. Otherwise it is not (Pearce et al., 1989).

There are potential problems in applying CBA to environmental issues, in particular as regards the discount principle underlying CBA.80  Among the means of dealing with some limitations inherent to CBA are:

  • the use of improved valuation techniques;81
  • incorporating environmental considerations into the planning process. For instance, the management of renewable resources should be required to be sustainable, and the rents from the use of non-renewable resources should be reinvested in resources that will compensate for the exhaustible resource;
  • incorporating a sustainability constraint such as requiring that the overall effect of a programme should have as small an adverse environmental impact as possible.

The basic formula used in CBA involves a value for the environmental consequences of a project (negative or positive). A prime requirement, therefore, is the integration of environmental values into CBA. This is especially important in ICAM, where the environment is a critical factor.

80 Useful reading on CBA includes Sugden and Williams, 1978; and Sassone and Schaffer, 1978.
See Box A.24.


Fisheries development unit reviewing progress of coastal microprojects, Benin

BOX A.23
Multicriteria analysis (MCA)

MCA begins with the specification of options to be examined and the criteria that are deemed to be of importance in their evaluation. The advantages and disadvantages of each option are compared through an assessment of their effects. Each effect is measured in a common unit across all options using either quantitative or qualitative criteria. Weightings for each criterion may be introduced, indicating the relative importance of each criterion in the analysis.

An advantage of MCA over CBA, is that it can take into account broader considerations such as the distribution of associated costs and benefits among different groups within society. Furthermore, unlike CBA, it does not require a monetarization of effects, nor does it focus exclusively on the measurement of efficiency. These advantages apply particularly to countries where the database is weak, economic activities are directly dependent on natural resources and distribution concerns are strong. MCA may be argued to perform better than CBA in accounting satisfactorily for sustainability objectives.

Methodologically, however, MCA suffers from its dependence on the specification of appropriate criteria and the specification of weights. However, these weaknesses can be overcome to some extent by undertaking sensitivity analysis in which preferred options can be tested and information provided on factors that have a critical effect on the ranking of options.

Source: Resources Assessment Commission, 1992.

BOX A.24
Economic valuation of natural resources

Unfortunately, the techniques and methods for evaluating natural systems have shortcomings: they require much time since they rely on the collection of extensive ecological, sociological and economic data; many countries simply do not have the human and financial resources needed for such an exercise, or the time to undertake it, given the speed with which problems accumulate; and environmental goods cannot be costed in monetary terms. In the final analysis, society must make value judgements and set them aside from economic calculations. More specifically, such methodologies are derived from the neo-classical economics framework and are subject to the criticism levelled at this framework when applied to the environment: the underlying values such as the pursuit of individual self-interest and profit maximization are not compatible with sustainable development; and risk, uncertainty and distributional issues within and between generations are inadequately dealt with. In addition, each individual technique has its own methodological and data problems.82

However, as many decisions affecting the environment are taken on the basis of cost-benefit analysis, environmental valuation techniques have proved to be valuable tools for incorporating environmental impacts into traditional analysis and thereby improving the decision-making process at project, sectoral and national levels.

Ecosystems are valued according to different types of values: direct use values are derived from the direct use of a system's goods and services (e.g. timber) ; indirect use values comprise all the ecological functions within a system (e.g. coastal wetlands as a means of flood control); option values are seen as extra insurance against the risk of losing goods and services (e.g. for providing future genes for plant breeding); existence values are placed on the intrinsic value of a system (e.g. a rare habitat); and bequest values upon the desire to preserve the inherent characteristics of a system for future generations for non-use purposes. Option, existence and bequest values are particularly difficult to convert into monetary terms and have to be described qualitatively.

Keeping in mind that common sense remains the best guide for evaluating natural resources, there are a variety of methodologies for assigning a monetary value to environmental goods and services (and thus to the economic costs and benefits of environmental impacts of certain actions and activities). These methodologies can be roughly divided into direct and indirect valuation techniques. The following is a brief description of their usefulness and limitations with reference to ICAM .

Direct valuation techniques. Such techniques attempt to estimate the monetary value of environmental benefits or losses directly from the preferences of the individuals involved. Direct techniques do not necessarily require a prior assessment of the (actual or potential) physical environmental change as they are based on people's perception of risk or change as revealed by their market behaviour or in their response to surveys. Direct valuation techniques comprise: contingent valuation; hedonic pricing approach; and travel cost method.

Contingent valuation. This approach seeks to elicit information on environmental preferences, directly from individuals, using surveys, questionnaires or experimental techniques, which collect information either on the `willingness to pay' (WTP) for an increase in the provision or quality of an environmental good or service, or the minimum `willingness-to-accept' (WTA) compensation to forego such beneficial change. The approach is based on hypothetical behaviour, rather than observed behaviour and thus depends on the respondents having a good understanding of why environmental preferences are solicited and interpreting the contingent valuation method question and scenario in the same way as the writer of the question. The strengths of this technique are that it can be applied in most contexts; it is frequently the only technique possible; and it is the only technique that can measure existence values (as such values are unrelated to any form of use, they cannot be captured by actual or surrogate market behaviour). An underlying weakness is that it does not use observation of actual market behaviour and does not test consumers' effective demand by requiring them to back up their opinions with cash. The values elicited depend on whether the changes are presented as gains or losses. Several types of survey format exist, each subject to varying degrees of bias, and there are some difficulties in determining the appropriate total population concerned. In practice, this technique has been found to be most useful for evaluating changes in amenity, air and water quality, wildlife and biological diversity among a well-informed and concerned population, and it thus has several applications within ICAM.83 

Hedonic pricing approach. This approach seeks to elicit individuals' preferences directly, but from market information rather than from surveys. It is thus based on actual rather than hypothetical behaviour. As many environmental goods and services do not have their own markets, surrogate markets are used. Two methods are commonly used: the property value approach, which is based on the assumption that differences in environmental quality will be reflected in housing prices; and the wage differential approach, where the labour market is used to reflect the value of different characteristics associated with working conditions and occupations. Both methods require an extensive amount of data and the ability to manipulate it, and the assumptions regarding perfect markets and fixed supply do not hold in many cases. Neither method captures the existence and option values. The wage differential approach can, in principle, be used to value human life in the context of risk of death from pollution but, in practice, the method has several methodological problems. Within ICAM, the property value approach might provide useful data on the benefits of local environmental changes in air and water quality or noise pollution.

Travel cost method. The travel cost method also seeks to elicit information on the demand for an environmental resource directly, using a combination of surveys and surrogate markets. More specifically, the travel cost method infers consumers' willingness to pay for environmental goods and services from the time and expense involved in travelling to them. Data requirements may be large and the technique does not capture the option price with certainty, neither does it capture the existence value, indirect benefits enjoyed by people who never actually visit the site or the commercial use value (beach vendors for instance) of recreational sites. The travel cost method is commonly applied to parks, forests, beaches, wetlands and coral reefs, but has also been used to evaluate the demand for unpriced goods, such as fuelwood or clean water in developing countries, based on the time spent in their collection.84 

Indirect valuation techniques. These techniques rely on a prior assessment of the physical environmental changes, followed by an estimation of the monetary value of such changes. Where the changes are adverse, these techniques thus seek to establish a physical relationship between the environmental damage (response) and some cause of the damage, e.g. pollution (dose), followed by a monetary valuation based either on information obtained from actual or surrogate markets or on a determination of the individuals' WTP, to avoid the damage, or WTA compensation, to suffer the damage.85  Indirect valuation techniques comprise: changes in production; foregone earnings; opportunity costs; preventive expenditures; replacement costs; and shadow projects.

Changes in production. This technique uses actual market prices to evaluate an environmental effect or disturbance. Environmental quality is viewed as a factor of production. Changes in environmental quality lead to changes in productivity and production costs, which in turn lead to changes in prices and levels of output, which can be observed and measured using actual market prices (or the prices of close substitutes where no market exists). Two steps are involved: estimation of physical effects (through laboratory or field research, controlled experiments or statistical regression analysis); and an estimation of the monetary values of physical impacts. The method is relatively easy to carry out and forms the basis for the majority of appraisals of conservation measures. However, in some cases, the physical relationship between activities affecting the environment and output, costs or damage is not well established, and it is often difficult to disentangle the effect of one cause from that of others and to distinguish between the effects of human-incurred and natural degradation. Within ICAM, the technique is useful in many situations of environmental degradation where there are actual effects on agricultural, forestry or fishery outputs. These include soil erosion, deforestation, loss of wetlands and other natural ecosystems, and the production effects of air and water pollution. This technique can also be used to determine the value of improved farming techniques.

Foregone earnings. Also termed the human capital approach, this technique attempts to calculate the health costs of air pollution and other adverse environmental conditions. Such costs comprise foregone earnings through premature death, sickness or absenteeism, increased medical expenses, and psychic costs. For this technique to be valid, important conditions must hold: the direct cause and effect relationship must be established; the illness is of limited duration, does not threaten life and has no serious long-term effects; and the economic value of the lost productive time is calculable and the cost of health care known. The technique is relatively easy to apply and is the most common technique for evaluating the economic costs of illness.86  Within ICAM the technique is useful for the evaluation of air and water pollution and of the health effects of new reservoirs, irrigation systems, etc.

Opportunity costs. A popular and widely applicable technique which measures the foregone benefits of selecting one option rather than another, it is particularly useful in cases where it is difficult to estimate the monetary value of the loss of a natural ecosystem. Instead of such a value, the opportunity costs of preserving the area concerned are measured in terms of the development benefits foregone. Rather than completing a cost-benefit analysis, the decision-maker is then asked to make the subjective decision: are the foregone developing benefits likely to exceed the preservation benefits? Within ICAM, this technique is particularly useful where proposed developments threaten pristine environments such as wetlands, natural forests and coral reefs.

Preventive expenditures. Rather than attempting to put a monetary value on environmental benefits themselves (through WTP/WTA estimates), the preventive expenditure technique is based on actual expenditure incurred to prevent, eradicate or reduce adverse environmental effects. This technique is based on the assumption that the victim of environmental damage will be prepared to incur preventive or mitigative expenditure until the costs of doing so are at least as great as the perceived benefits obtained (equal to the environmental damage costs). Information on preventive expenditure can be derived from: direct observations of actual spending; collection of information on WTP to guard against an impending environmental threat; or by obtaining professional estimates on a process that has physical effects that are well perceived and for which there is the possibility of prevention. The disadvantages are that actual expenditures are constrained by the ability to pay and the assumption that the actual expenditure equals the environmental damage costs may not hold. Existence and option values are not captured. Within ICAM, it can be used to evaluate the costs of air, water and noise pollution and soil erosion on residential areas, agricultural, forestry and fishery production.

Replacement costs. The is an ex post valuation approach that estimates the replacement or restoration costs once environmental damage has taken place. Such costs can then be taken as a minimum estimate of the presumed benefits of programmes for protecting or improving the environment. The boundary between this approach and the preventive expenditure approach is not always easy to uphold and the limitations above apply also to this technique. In some instances, it will be useful to make separate estimates of preventive expenditure and replacement costs and the effects of no action (using the effects on production technique) and to compare them in order to decide whether it is more sensible to try to prevent degradation, to risk that it happens and try to restore the damage, or to do nothing at all. This method is commonly used to justify the costs of soil conservation measures.

Shadow projects. This technique can be viewed as a special type of the replacement cost technique. It involves the identification and costing of a supplementary or `shadow' project designed to offset the environmental damage. This technique is more reliable than WTP estimates for environmental services, which people find hard to value, such as carbon sequestration by forests which offsets the greenhouse effects of carbon emissions.

82 As is in the case with many economic issues, there is no general agreement on the economic valuation of natural resources. For theoretical or empirical discussions of economic valuation, see Schaffer, 1978; Mitchell and Carson, 1989; and United States Department of Commerce, 1993.

83 For further reading, refer to Winpenny, 1991.

84 See Mitchell and Carson, 1989.
See Shogren et al., 1994.
See Freeman, 1979; Tietenberg, 1994; and Pearce and Turner, 1990.

Sources: extracted from Hufschmidt et al., 1983; Winpenny, 1991; and Richardson and Nurick, 1994.

Establishment of a learning process. In order to improve understanding of the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of policies and to monitor change, reliable records should be kept of data and analysis. Agencies involved in ICAM should therefore establish baseline studies with which future assessments are to be compared.

BOX A.25
Examples of stated objectives in ICAM

In the Bolinau Community-Based Coastal Resources Management Project (which is site-specific) in the Philippines, the stated objectives are:

  • empowerment of local communities, through community organization, environmental education and institutionalization, in order that they function effectively as stewards of their coastal resources;
  • food production and income generation aimed at improving livelihoods;
  • establishment of linkages with similarly motivated groups with a view to setting goals for changes in policies and laws and lobbying for their adoption.

Source: Gomez and McManus, 1996.

In the Ecuador Coastal Resources Management Programme (which was countrywide), the stated objectives were to:

  • create and mobilize constituencies for improved coastal management both at the community level and within central government;
  • improve management through governance structures and processes at the community level and within the central government;
  • build indigenous capacity;
  • experiment with resource management techniques at a pilot scale in five special area management zones to discover and demonstrate promising approaches to priority coastal management problems.

Source: Olsen, 1996.

2.4.5 Strategy formulation

In most cases of ICAM, strategy formulation will be undertaken by the coordinating institution, working through the steering and management committees.

At this stage of the process, the overall goals stated in the inception paper, and the issues and options identified during the performance review and data collection and analysis phases, are translated into specific objectives87  and a strategy for coastal management, including tools and instruments required to reach the policy objectives. The strategy will demonstrate the linkages between objectives and research and monitoring requirements and should be consistent with identified needs and constraints for development, and with sectoral and overall development goals.

During the strategy formulation phase, details on implementation procedures, schedules and cost sharing are negotiated and finalized with each concerned interest group. The strategy should represent a synthesis of information collected with all the available means and activities agreed upon between local communities and other partners (local authorities, line agencies, NGOs, etc.). Since the strategy should become an integral part of the follow-up by line agencies, it must be as clear and readily applicable as possible. GIS seems to be a particularly useful tool in this respect, offering a unique opportunity for easily retrieving and processing spatial data and information for planning and extension purposes.

In many cases a strategy for a coastal area must emphasize secondary economic development, such as surrendering natural resources to tourism or to urban or industrial development. Where this is so, such choices will be made only after an exhaustive analysis of the trade-offs, including the costs and benefits of adopting the selected strategy. Where possible, in the context of sustainable development, planners will endeavour to avoid loss or degradation of natural resources when pursuing economic development. In order to reach agreement on trade-offs, negotiations with stakeholders can take place within the coordinating committee where arbitration will facilitate acceptance of the inevitable choices. In any case, ICAM requires that the potential benefits and risks associated with various management options be made explicit to the actors involved.

BOX A.26
Instruments for policy implementation

Policy instruments vary from minimum flexibility, control-oriented, maximum government involvement (e.g. regulations, sanctions, charges, taxes and fees) to maximum flexibility, litigation-oriented and increased private initiative (e.g. final demand intervention, such as performance rating, strict liability legislation). In between these two extremes lie moderately flexible market-oriented instruments (e.g. tradable permits). For ICAM, the following categories could be considered.

Direct government investment. This takes two forms: `hard' investment in physical infrastructure, such as water treatment plants; and `soft' investment, such as in research and information, training, resource management and public education.

Institutional and organizational arrangements. These include appropriate legislation relating to the responsibilities and powers of the various institutions involved and provision of the governance arrangements. Care has to be taken that any proposals for changes to legislation and regulations are consistent with existing legislation.

Command and control instruments. These are regulatory instruments relying largely on legal enforcement to obtain satisfactory results. The advantages of command and control instruments include a general preference for them over economic instruments by resource users and by governments. There are a number of reasons for this preference, among which are their familiarity, clarity and perceived certainty, and the perceived absence of undesirable effects on inflation, income distribution and international competitiveness. However, they suffer from often being relatively costly to implement and economically inefficient, substituting decisions on resource use by the government for decisions by resource users.

Economic or market-based instruments. These also rely on regulation but differ from command and control instruments in that they work with the market, that is, the tendency of resource users to respond to financial incentives or disincentives. Economic instruments are usually more efficient than command and control instruments. However, considerable care must be taken in their design, and considerable research is required, for instance to determine the efficiency of transferable quotas or tradable pollution permits. The revenue aspects of taxes and fees for less wealthy governments should not be underestimated.

Societal instruments. The main features of societal instruments are the promotion of civil society organizations, the creation of new channels for public involvement and citizen activism (including greater citizen access to courts for civil suits, for example related to the protection of environmental goods against economic options). In many developing countries, the conditions for such involvement are still far from being fulfilled.

When the long-term objectives have been defined, the following considerations should govern the setting of short-term objectives:

In describing the means by which the goals and objectives will be met, the ICAM strategy should identify the instruments to be used. In particular, the strategy stage is the point at which to consider the rationale for the selection of instruments that will implement policies. Those instruments are: direct government investment; institutional and organizational arrangements; command and control instruments; economic or market-based instruments; and societal instruments.88

Policy instruments may work either directly or indirectly. Table A.5 shows some examples. The indirect approach seeks to influence resource users' actions. Barbier (1992) has concluded that with economic instruments the uncertainty usually concerns the reduction in environmental damage, whereas with regulatory controls the uncertainty is over the costs of reduction.

Examples of policy instruments used in response to some common issues in ICAM







Effluent charges; tradable permits deposit/refund systems.

Removal of subsidies encouraging resource consumption; taxes on inputs or outputs; subsidies on the use of substitutes and abatement inputs; performance bonds; tradable effluent quotas.



Prohibitions on improper waste and effluent disposal; emission limits; environmental quality standards (e.g. for water and air); licensing systems; integrated pollution control systems.

Regulation of equipment, processes, inputs and outputs; imposition of technical standards; efficiency standards for inputs or processes; bans or fixed quotas on inputs or outputs; reporting requirements; environmental impact assessment requirements; land-use zoning.



Waste collection, treatment and disposal.

Research and development; technical assistance; education.



Creation and extension of institutional jurisdiction and responsibilities; increasing institutional capacity; monitoring; enforcement.

Creating civil liability for pollution damage and for clean-up costs; creating rights for the public to gain access to information and to institute legal actions.

Non-optimal resource exploitation


Tradable fishing quotas; stumpage fees (royalties); water use charges.

Removal of subsidies encouraging resource consumption; introduction of subsidies to encourage reduced consumption, reuse and recycling; taxes on resource utilization; marketing board margins; licence fees; concession fees.



Non-tradable fishing quotas; logging quotas or bans; obligations to rehabilitate or reforest sites.

Regulation of fishing vessels, fishing gear, fishing area, fishing season; regulation of logging area; reporting obligations.



Fisheries enhancement.

Research and development; technical assistance; education.



Establishment and clarification of legal responsibilities and duties of institutions; increasing institutional capacity; monitoring; enforcement.

Preparation and implementation of integrated coastal management plans and policies; clarification of legal rights to own, use and manage resources; involvement of resource users in decision-making and planning; devolving management authority to local level; establishment of conflict resolution mechanisms.

Habitat degradation


Taxes on exports of coral; subsidies on use of fuels as alternatives to wood and charcoal.



Restrictions on habitat conversion (e.g. mangrove); prohibitions on harmful activities (e.g. blast fishing, muro-ami, coral harvesting) and restrictions on potentially harmful activities (e.g. inshore trawling, scuba diving); creating legal obligations to rehabilitate and restore degraded areas.

Restrictions on rights of private landowners; establishment of protected areas; system of consents for developments in coastal areas; zoning of coastal areas; coastal set-back lines; environmental impact assessment requirements; regulation of sale and export of products from protected natural resources (e.g. coral).



Infrastructure and management of parks and protected areas; reef seeding; mangrove rehabilitation.

Research, technical assistance, education.



Establishment and clarification of institutional jurisdictional responsibilities; increasing institutional capacity; monitoring; enforcement.

Preparation and implementation of integrated coastal management plans and policies; clarification of legal rights to own, use and manage resources; creating rights for the public to gain access to information and to institute legal actions; involvement of resource users in decision-making and planning; devolving management authority to local level; establishment of conflict resolution mechanisms.

EPI: economic policy (or market-based) instruments.

CAC: command and control instruments.

DGI: direct government involvement (or investment).

IOA: institutional and organizational arrangements (including societal instruments).

Source: adapted from Grigalunas and Congar, 1991; and Scura et al., 1992.

The ICAM strategy will usually be approved by all the ministries concerned, together with the agreement of the other stakeholders, such as communities, industry organizations and municipalities. Useful approaches for strategy formulation are the patrimonial approach and other public involvement methods.89 

BOX A.27
Guidelines for coastal development affecting ecosystems
  • Designate critical habitats and species for special protection or status.
  • Locate development that is not coastal-dependent away from important coastal ecosystems areas.
  • In addition to avoiding unnecessary negative impacts on coastal ecosystems, establish shoreline setbacks or buffer zones aimed at avoiding damage to development from coastal and riverine natural hazards.
  • If the coastal area must be developed, locate and design sites to avoid vulnerable coastal ecosystems and habitats.
  • Incorporate buffer zones whenever development close to vulnerable ecosystems cannot be avoided.
  • Avoid breeding and nesting seasons when undertaking construction work.
  • Design infrastructures so as to avoid blocking water circulation.
  • Dispose of effluents, runoff and discharges in a manner that avoids pollution of ecosystems.
  • Require compensation for ecological losses caused by development; where possible, provide for replacement of lost habitat.

Flamingoes on the Salamanca Island game reserve, Columbia

2.4.6 Plan formulation/absorption into sectoral plans

When it is working well, the ICAM planning process is a dynamic one. New information and new analysis is likely to result periodically in the need either to modify existing objectives or to develop new ones; the process is essentially one of continuous learning.

ICAM plans should evolve from ICAM strategies just as sector plans evolve from sector strategies. The plan outlines the sequence within a time-frame of necessary management actions, financial and workforce requirements to implement the actions, and the mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. Success will depend heavily on the provisions made for ensuring compliance with plan provisions; the chances of voluntary compliance will depend on the level of public involvement in the planning process.

Where ICAM is institutionally integrated, the integrated body will have funds to implement the strategy by developing an ICAM plan.

Where ICAM is coordinated90  (the most likely option), the strategy is the basis for line ministries to build plans for the implementation of those parts of the strategy for which they are responsible. The translation of the strategy into sector-based plans will depend critically on those ministries, their competence, their mandates and their control over funds for conservation, management and development.

Sector plans should include:

Details of subsectoral policy instruments are found in Section 3 of Part B and Sections 4 of Parts C and D.

Plans for ICAM that are part of sector plans will be consistent with:

However, ICAM plans will gradually influence national environmental plans.91 

In some countries, difficulties may arise in reconciling the dynamism in the ICAM planning process, represented by the flow of information resulting in revision of objectives, with the conventional sectoral planning process in which sector plans, linked to national plans, are normally for a fixed four- or five- year planning term. In this situation, care should be taken to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility in the sectoral planning process to accommodate likely changes in the plan. Ideally, ICAM planning can be best accommodated in sectoral planning where the sector plan is rolled forward from one year to the next.

Coordination of sectoral plans will take place within the coordinating institution where representatives of line ministries and other organizations are involved in implementing the plan. This will ensure that, together, the implementing agencies encompass all aspects of the strategy and avoid overlapping or contradictory actions.

The plan for the coastal area, or the sectoral plans, should indicate the time-frame and resources needed for each activity. When new institutions, or significant modifications to existing institutions, are proposed, a smooth transition from the current situation to the new one must be provided for.

In the integration of ICAM strategy into sector plans, suitable sustainability and performance indicators should be provided.92

ICAM management stages

(1) Triggers of the ICAM process include: an environmental incident, decline in productivity, a planning opportunity, a sustainability concern, etc.

(2) Feasibility: assesses coastal issues and management needs and appraises economic feasibility.

(3) Concept paper: the product of the inception phase that identifies the main actors and coordination mechanism: (4) broadly defines the intended achievements; and (5) proposes time horizon and costs.

(6) Performance review: defines who, how and when data will be collected: establishes (7) evaluation criteria; identifies data to be collected; and monitors (8) indicators . As information is generated and stakeholders' capacity is strengthened, the performance review assess the ICAM process and evaluates results.

(9) Coastal profile: the product of the data collection and research phase where: (10) problems, causes of concern and management issues are defined; and (11) baseline data are established.

(12) Analysis: evaluates problems and (13) societal costs; (14) evaluates institutional responses to spot management gaps and needs; and produces a statement of possible actions.

(15) Strategy: translates goals into (16) specific agreed objectives; and defines (17) management options that include negotiated management procedures, rationale for selecting policy instruments, as well as performance research and training plans.

(18) Plan: formulation of (19) a new integrated ICAM plan; or (20) absorption into sectoral plans that contain a statement for the time-frame and budgetary commitment allocated to their ICAM part.

2.4.7 Plan implementation

This important stage in the process is often the most neglected. Implementation often presents difficulties resulting from the higher priorities perceived by line ministries consistent with their conventional, sector-oriented roles. Such difficulties should be anticipated and overcome before the implementation stage is reached. The plan can only be effectively applied when sanctioned at the highest level.

The main steps in the implementation phase include decision-making relative to adopting the plan, budgetary commitment, and monitoring and supervision.93  Integration and coordination mechanisms are essential throughout these phases.

For monitoring to be efficiently carried out, policy measures should be formulated with appropriate indicators. Periodic monitoring also provides much of the information required for the evaluation of ICAM plan performance. Performance review evolves management towards more refined ICAM cycles.

20 See Figure A.5.

21 See Part E.

22 For example, Mathiews (1995) argues that the complete collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland is at least partially attributable to inappropriate Canadian Federal fisheries policy which was heavily influenced by Hardin's `tragedy of the commons' thesis. Hardin incorrectly equated common ownership with open access to a resource and concluded that, as population grew, overexploitation of the resource was inevitable. As a result Canadian Federal Fisheries authorities were prejudiced against existing common property regimes managed on a local basis by inshore fishing communities and instead introduced a system of federal licensing designed to restrict the number of individuals involved in fishing (rather than, for example, limiting the activities of large offshore trawlers). This policy was spectacularly unsuccessful in preventing the overexploitation of the resource.

23 See Part E, Section 2.1.

24 See Box A.2.

25 See Part E.

26 Concluded on 10 December 1982, at Montego Bay, and put into force on 16 November 1994.

27 There are a number of other international conventions with relevance to coastal areas including: the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992) which came into force on 29 December 1993; the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 16 November 1972) which came into force on 17 December 1975; the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, 2 February 1971) which came into force on 21 December 1975; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (New York, 9 May 1992) which came into force on 24 March 1996. Regional conventions may also be relevant, particularly those concluded under the UNEP Regional Seas Programme which covers 13 regions of which eight currently have binding international framework conventions, nine have action plans, and a number of other action plans, framework conventions and protocols are under negotiation.

28 Relevant non-binding international instruments include the Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Environment and Development of 16 June 1992; Agenda 21 concluded on 16 June 1992 at Rio de Janeiro (particularly Chapter 8, which deals with the importance of providing an effective legal and regulatory framework, and Chapter 17, which deals with the protection of oceans, seas and coastal areas); the non-legally binding Authoritative Statement of Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of all Types of Forests, concluded on 13 June 1992 at Rio de Janeiro; and the 1995 `Jakarta Mandate' adopted by the second Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

29 The institutional framework for ICAM is discussed in Section 2.3.

30 For other examples and for a fuller discussion of this issue see Boelaert-Suominen and Cullinan, 1994.

31 Ibid .

32 The European Community formulation states that: `natural or legal persons governed by public or private law who are responsible for pollution must pay the costs of such measures as are necessary to eliminate pollution or to reduce it so as to comply with the standards or equivalent measures laid down by the public authorities.' Council Recommendation 75/436/EURATOM, ECSC, EEC of 3 March 1975, Annex, para. 2; OJ L 169, 29.6.1987, p. 1.

33 See the `Draft Principles of Conduct in the Field of the Environment for the Guidance of States in the Conservation and Harmonious Utilisation of Natural Resources Shared by Two or More States', UNEP/IG. 12/2 and UNEP/GC. 6/17, approved by the General Council Decision of 19 May 1978 and by UN General Assembly Resolution 34/186 of 18 December 1979.

34 The principle is expressed in United States Congressional Declaration of Coastal Zone policy and is also found in the legislation of several other countries. For example, the 1988 Spanish Shores Act provides that within 100 m landwards from the landwards limit of the seashore `Generally, only works, installations and activities which by their very nature may not be located elsewhere or which provide services necessary or convenient for the use of the coastal public property will be permitted'.

35 For example, the Coastal Zone Management Act in the United States provides incentives for states to implement management policies to bring about `wise use of the land and water resources of the coastal zone' (section 303 (2)) and to ensure that management programmes contain mechanisms `assuring that local land-use and water use regulations within the coastal zone do not unreasonably restrict or exclude land uses and water uses of regional benefit' (section 306 (d) 12).

36 The importance of public consultation is emphasized by paragraph 17.6 of Agenda 21 which provides that local and national mechanisms established to ensure integrated management and sustainable development of coastal and marine areas and their resources `should include consultation, as appropriate, with the academic and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, local communities, resource user groups, and indigenous people'.

37 For example, many of the principles in international environmental law texts such as the principle of intergenerational equity (Rio Declaration, Principle 3) and the principle of the interdependence of environment and development (Rio Declaration, Principle 4).

38 See Section 2.2.2.

39 Ibid.

40 The term `public land' is used here as a generic term to refer to various legal concepts of collective public land tenure that exist in different legal systems, such as res communis, domaine publique, crown lands and public trust lands. In recent years various initiatives to protect coastlines have led to ancient principles of public ownership being reasserted in a number of jurisdictions including Costa Rica, Spain, France and its overseas dominions (Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean and R_union in the Indian Ocean), and Sri Lanka.

41 Many wildlife or biological reserves bring few or no benefits to the inhabitants and, in addition, can create severe social stress (loss of traditional livelihoods). Contrary to common perceptions, local inhabitants often contribute strongly to conservation and, when this fails, it is frequently not owing to irresponsible conduct on the part of such populations.

42 There are exceptions. For example, Sri Lanka has developed a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the country which covers archaeological, historic, cultural, scenic and recreational resources. The plan places most emphasis on the control of erosion, coral and sand mining and reef protection. However, in a second generation management plan, coastal resources management is being devolved to district and local level and special area management plans are being developed and implemented for specific geographic sites of natural or economic significance.

43 For example, the Chesapeake Bay Program in the United States embraces, not only the large area of the bay itself, but also the watershed, which comprises some 166 000 km2. However, the causes of air pollution which are having an adverse effect on fish habitat in the bay originate even further inland and are being addressed.

44 For example, the Australian Great Barrier Reef, which is managed as an entity, extends for approximately 2 200 km and covers an area of 348 700 km2.

45 See Figure A.5.

46 See Section 2.2 for the legal framework

47 See Section 2.3.4.

48 See Table A.4.

49 This may be of critical importance. It provides for ministries to undertake jointly the valuation of natural resources and cost-benefit analysis of options for their conservation, management and development potentials and to adopt a system of arbitration relating to their use when agreement cannot be reached between the agencies concerned.

50 Some caution has to be exercised at this point. These guidelines suggest that resource users and ministry officials within a sector are often in the best position to record changes that are taking place and to suggest where these changes may originate. However, they are not always in the best position to monitor environmental changes scientifically (it may, for example, be beyond the financial resources of a fisheries ministry to monitor water quality) and it may not always be possible, even with long-term monitoring, to identify with certainty the causes of changes in renewable resource stocks or of ecosystems.

51 Figure A.4 illustrates this tendency.

52 See Box A.10.
See Sections 1.6.1 and 2.3.3 and Table A.4.
See Section 2.2.5 and Box A.4.

55 More information on mediation characteristics and processes can be found in Part E, Section 4.1.4.
See Box A.11 and Box A.12.

57 See Section 2.3.4.

55 More information on mediation characteristics and processes can be found in Part E, Section 4.1.4.
See Box A.11 and Box A.12.

57 See Section 2.3.4.

59 See Part E, Sections 5 and 6.

60 See Section 1.6.3.
See Box A.13. The contribution of research to addressing coastal problems is illustraded in Box A.14.

62 See Figure A.9.
Refer to IUCN/UNEP/WWF, 1991.

64 See Figure A.10.

65 See Box A.15.

66 See Figure A.5.

67 In Sections 2.3.1 and 2.3.2.

68 See Part E.

69 For subsectoral justifications and interactions, see Sections 1 and 2, respectively, in Parts B, C and D.

70 See Box A.17.

71 See Section 2.4.4.

72 See Sustainability indicators in Section 2.3.6.
Sections 3 of Parts B, C and D provide detailed suggestions on information available within sub-sectors.

75 For evaluation of the regulatory framework, see Section 2.2.3 and Boxes A.4 and A.7.

77 See Figure A.12 and Boxes A.18 and A.19.

87 Examples of stated objectives are in Box A.25.

88 See Box A.26.

89 See Boxes A.11 and A.20, respectively.

90 See Section 2.3.2.

91 See Section 2.3.3.

92 See Sections 2.3.6. and 2.4.2.

93 See Section 2.4.2.

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