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Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe

OJ L 148, 6.6.2002, p. 24–27 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe

Official Journal L 148 , 06/06/2002 P. 0024 - 0027

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council

of 30 May 2002

concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe



Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 175(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3),


(1) The coastal zone is of great environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational importance to Europe.

(2) Coastal zones possess a unique biodiversity in terms of flora and fauna.

(3) Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development summit in Rio in June 1992, should be taken into account.

(4) The 1999 assessment report of the European Environment Agency indicates a continuing degradation of conditions in the coastal zones of Europe as regards both the coasts themselves and the quality of coastal water.

(5) Community coastal zones are further threatened by the effects of climate change, in particular rising sea levels, changes in storm frequency and strength, and increased coastal erosion and flooding.

(6) Population growth and the development of economic activities are increasingly threatening for both the environmental and social equilibria of coastal zones.

(7) The decline of fishing activity and related employment makes many fisheries-dependent areas particularly vulnerable.

(8) Existing regional disparities in the Community affect the management and conservation of each coastal zone in a different way.

(9) It is essential to implement an environmentally sustainable, economically equitable, socially responsible, and culturally sensitive management of coastal zones, which maintains the integrity of this important resource while considering local traditional activities and customs that do not present a threat to sensitive natural areas and to the maintenance status of the wild species of the coastal fauna and flora.

(10) The Community promotes integrated management on a larger scale by means of horizontal instruments. These activities therefore contribute to integrated coastal zone management.

(11) The Commission notes in its Communications(4) to the Council and the European Parliament that integrated management of the coastal zone requires strategic, coordinated and concerted action at the local and regional level, guided and supported by an appropriate framework at the national level.

(12) The Commission's demonstration programme on integrated coastal zone management identifies principles of good coastal zone management.

(13) There is a need to ensure coherent action a at European level, including cooperative action and consultation with regional seas organisations or international organisations, such as the International Maritime Organisation, to address cross-border coastal zone problems.

(14) Council Resolution of 6 May 1994 on a Community strategy for integrated coastal zone management(5) and Council Resolution of 25 February 1992 on the future Community policy concerning the European coastal zone(6) both identify the need for concerted European action to implement integrated coastal zone management.

(15) Since the Resolution of 6 May 1994 the European Union has experienced an increase in pressure on coastal resources, an increase in coastal population and an increase in near-shore and on-shore infrastructure.

(16) An integrated coastal zone management involves multiple factors among which town and country planning and land use are only accessorily concerned.

(17) In accordance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty, and with Protocol 7 to the Treaty of Amsterdam on the implementation of subsidiarity and proportionality, and given the diversity of conditions in the coastal zones and the legal and institutional frameworks in the Member States, the objectives of the proposed action can best be achieved by guidance at the Community level,



A strategic approach

Member States take into account the sustainable development strategy and the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the sixth Community environment action programme(7), and take a strategic approach to the management of their coastal zones, based on:

(a) protection of the coastal environment, based on an ecosystem approach preserving its integrity and functioning, and sustainable management of the natural resources of both the marine and terrestrial components of the coastal zone;

(b) recognition of the threat to coastal zones posed by climate change and of the dangers entailed by the rise in sea level and the increasing frequency and violence of storms;

(c) appropriate and ecologically responsible coastal protection measures, including protection of coastal settlements and their cultural heritage;

(d) sustainable economic opportunities and employment options;

(e) a functioning social and cultural system in local communities;

(f) adequate accessible land for the public, both for recreational purposes and aesthetic reasons;

(g) in the case of remote coastal communities, maintenance or promotion of their cohesion;

(h) improved coordination of the actions taken by all the authorities concerned both at sea and on land, in managing the sea-land interaction.



In formulating national strategies and measures based on these strategies, Member States should follow the principles of integrated coastal zone management to ensure good coastal zone management, taking into account the good practices identified, inter alia, in the Commission's demonstration programme on integrated coastal zone management. In particular, coastal zone management should be based on:

(a) a broad overall perspective (thematic and geographic) which will take into account the interdependence and disparity of natural systems and human activities with an impact on coastal areas;

(b) a long-term perspective which will take into account the precautionary principle and the needs of present and future generations;

(c) adaptive management during a gradual process which will facilitate adjustment as problems and knowledge develop. This implies the need for a sound scientific basis concerning the evolution of the coastal zone;

(d) local specificity and the great diversity of European coastal zones, which will make it possible to respond to their practical needs with specific solutions and flexible measures;

(e) working with natural processes and respecting the carrying capacity of ecosystems, which will make human activities more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sound in the long run;

(f) involving all the parties concerned (economic and social partners, the organisations representing coastal zone residents, non-governmental organisations and the business sector) in the management process, for example by means of agreements and based on shared responsibility;

(g) support and involvement of relevant administrative bodies at national, regional and local level between which appropriate links should be established or maintained with the aim of improved coordination of the various existing policies. Partnership with and between regional and local authorities should apply when appropriate;

(h) use of a combination of instruments designed to facilitate coherence between sectoral policy objectives and coherence between planning and management.


National stocktaking

Member States conduct or update an overall stocktaking to analyse which major actors, laws and institutions influence the management of their coastal zone. This stocktaking should:

(a) consider (but not be limited to) the following sectors and areas: fisheries and aquaculture, transport, energy, resource management, species and habitat protection, cultural heritage, employment, regional development in both rural and urban areas, tourism and recreation, industry and mining, waste management, agriculture and education;

(b) cover all administrative levels;

(c) analyse the interests, role and concerns of citizens, non-governmental organisations, and the business sector;

(d) identify relevant inter-regional organisations and cooperation structures, and

(e) take stock of the applicable policy and legislative measures.


National strategies

1. Based on the result of the stocktaking, each Member State concerned, in partnership with the regional authorities and inter-regional organisations, as appropriate, should develop a national strategy or, where appropriate, several strategies, to implement the principles for integrated management of the coastal zone.

2. These strategies might be specific to the coastal zone, or might be part of a geographically broader strategy or programme for promoting integrated management of a larger area.

3. These strategies should:

(a) identify the roles of the different administrative actors within the country or region whose competence includes activities or resources related to the coastal zone, as well as mechanisms for their coordination. This identification of roles should allow an adequate control, and an appropriate strategy and consistency of actions;

(b) identify the appropriate mix of instruments for implementation of the principles outlined in Chapter II, within the national, regional or local legal and administrative context. In developing these strategies, the Member States should consider the appropriateness of:

(i) developing national strategic plans for the coast to promote integrated management ensuring, inter alia, the control of additional urbanisation and of the exploitation of non-urban areas while respecting natural features of the coastal environment;

(ii) land purchase mechanisms and declarations of public domain to ensure public access for recreational purposes without prejudice to the protection of sensitive areas;

(iii) developing contractual or voluntary agreements with coastal zone users, including environmental agreements with industry;

(iv) harnessing economic and fiscal incentives, and

(v) working through regional development mechanisms;

(c) develop or maintain national and, where appropriate, regional or local legislation or policies and programmes which address both the marine and terrestrial areas of coastal zones together;

(d) particularly, identify measures to promote bottom-up initiatives and public participation in integrated management of the coastal zone and its resources;

(e) identify sources of durable financing for integrated coastal zone management initiatives where needed, and examine how to make the best use of existing financing mechanisms both at Community and at national level;

(f) identify mechanisms to ensure full and coordinated implementation and application of Community legislation and policies that have an impact on coastal areas, including when reviewing Community policies;

(g) include adequate systems for monitoring and disseminating information to the public about their coastal zone. These systems should collect and provide information in appropriate and compatible formats to decision makers at national, regional and local levels to facilitate integrated management. The work of the European Environment Agency can serve inter alia as a basis for this purpose. These data should be publicly available in accordance with relevant Community legislation, in particular with the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC(8);

(h) determine how appropriate national training and education programmes can support implementation of integrated management principles in the coastal zone.



1. Member States should encourage, enter into or maintain dialogue and implement existing conventions with neighbouring countries, including non-Member States in the same regional sea, to establish mechanisms for better coordination of responses to cross-border issues.

2. Member States also work actively with the Community institutions and other coastal stakeholders to facilitate progress towards a common approach to integrated coastal zone management, examining the need for a European coastal stakeholders forum. In this process, ways of using existing institutions and conventions should be explored.

3. In this context, cooperation with the accession countries is maintained and enhanced.


Reporting and review

1. Member States report to the Commission on the experience in implementation of this Recommendation 45 months after its adoption.

2. These reports are available to the public and include, in particular, information concerning:

(a) the results of the national stocktaking exercise;

(b) the strategy or strategies proposed at the national level for implementation of integrated coastal zone management;

(c) a summary of actions taken, or to be taken, to implement the national strategy or strategies;

(d) an evaluation of the expected impact of the strategy or strategies on the status of the coastal zone;

(e) an evaluation of the implementation and application of Community legislation and policies that have an impact on coastal areas.

3. The Commission should review this Recommendation within 55 months following the date of its adoption and submit to the European Parliament and the Council an evaluation report accompanied if appropriate by a proposal for further Community action.

Done at Brussels, 30 May 2002.

For the European Parliament

The President

P. Cox

For the Council

The President

J. Piqué I Camps

(1) OJ C 155, 29.5.2001, p. 17.

(2) OJ C 148, 18.5.2001, p. 23.

(3) Opinion of the European Parliament of 5 July 2001 (OJ C 65 E, 14.3.2002, p. 309), Council Common Position of 13 December 2001 (OJ C 58 E, 5.3.2002, p. 1) and Decision of the European Parliament of 10 April 2002. Council Decision of 7 May 2002.

(4) COM(97) 744 and COM(2000) 547.

(5) OJ C 135, 18.5.1994, p. 2.

(6) OJ C 59, 6.3.1992, p. 1.

(7) Not yet published in the Official Journal.

(8) Not yet published in the Official Journal.