Apart from the two ports, Ventspils and Liepaja, where most of the area's 165 000 inhabitants live, the 260 km coastline is primarily rural and natural. A substantial part of the dunes is forested. The management of the polders and drainage network was relaxed for a period after the Soviet withdrawal. It is taking time to establish and put into operation the new administrative structures to deal with integrated coastal zone management.
In 1990, the government decided to establish a 600-metre-wide protection belt (300m of land, 300m offshore) to protect the natural and recreational resources. This belt must be incorporated into land-use plans at the various levels (national, regional and local). A temporary administrative structure was set up to coordinate the various levels and administrative sectors concerned. The administrative bodies taking part are three district councils, two municipal councils (Dome) and 11 local authorities (Pagasti).
- Contribution to the implementation of the Baltic Sea environment programme to ensure the ecological restoration of the Baltic Sea and the preservation of its ecological balance.
- Establishment of a policy, regulatory, institutional and management framework for the management of the study area
- Proposal for guidelines for planning and development in the study area
- Establishment of a programme of priority action and demonstration to protect the environment and reduce pollution
- Preparation of integrated coastal zone management plans at national and local level, organisation of workshops, training seminars and studies
- Recommendation of actions concerning investment and management programmes to be implemented in stages
- Identification of preventive and curative action to reduce the pollution load from the study area reaching the Baltic Sea.