The EU’s coastline is 89 000 kilometres long, and about half of the population of those Member States with a coastline lives within 50 kilometres of the sea. Coastal zones already include the Union’s most valuable habitats; a recent commission study (1) indicates that the total ecosystem benefits generated by the EU coastal zones are worth more in economic terms than the national GDP of any of the smaller EU countries. The European Commission believes that a more coordinated approach is necessary to ensure that this economic resource is not destroyed.
The Demonstration Programme is designed to document and assess the hypothesis presented in COM 511/95 that the continued degradation and mismanagement of many of Europe’s coastal areas can be traced to problems related to:
- Insufficient or inappropriate information, both about the state of the coastal zones and also about the impact of human activities (economic and non-economic)
- Insufficient coordination between different levels and sectors of administration, and their policies
- Insufficient participation and consultation of the relevant stakeholders
As well as providing concrete examples of good practice in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in a range of socio-economic, cultural, administrative and physical conditions, the Demonstration Programme is also
intended to be the raw material for the development of a European ICZM Strategy, promoting sustainable development of E.U. Coastal Zones.
This document would be compile and diffuse the principal policy lessons emerging from the experiences of the Demonstration Programme to date and stimulate debate and develop consensus on a European ICZM Strategy, designed to reverse the trend towards unsustainability that is presently pervasive in coastal zones across Europe.