Aims and scope

The aim of the conference is to develop a holistic view of the priorities for integrated management across the social, political, economic and environmental divides that uniquely characterise the coast.

The themes of the conference reflect the three aspects of global change:

Theme 1: Global change and managing environmental risk

As world development progresses human interventions have increasing impacts on climate, on water, on living resources, and on ecosystem processes. This trend poses many risks for society and for our economies. At the coast, in particular, integrated policy and management responses are necessary to avoid the unintended consequences of poor decision-making.

  • Leadership / Taking holistic and coordinated approaches to risk management and adaptation to change
  • Innovation / Innovation in working with natural processes and applying the ecosystem approach
  • Investment / Priorities for investment to enhance the sustainable use of our coastal and marine resources

Theme 2: Developing the marine and coastal economy

Coastal and maritime policies for the EU and elsewhere aim to focus attention on the contribution of the coast and seas to furthering growth and jobs within the context of sustainable development. Increasingly, the need is for integrated planning across the land/sea divide to ensure that policies for different forms of economic development, environmental protection, for infrastructure, and for community development are ‘joined up’.

  • Leadership / Enabling innovation and investment. Understanding the respective roles of government, business and other stakeholders.
  • Innovation / Achieving multiple use and using integrated planning to optimise the economic value of the coast.
  • Investment / Enhancing the value of our coasts. Why it makes sense to invest in better management in the context of global change.

Theme 3: Tackling inequality in coastal communities

Coastal communities should benefit from coastal and maritime policy, although there is a balance to be achieved between local and national benefit. The integration of local social needs into coastal management policy is hampered by poorly understood relationships and policy solutions are in their infancy.

  • Leadership / Working with communities to adapt to global change
  • Innovation / Developing intelligent and responsive public services to facilitate adaptation
  • Investment / Strengthening the ability of communities to adapt to change

Each theme will be examined from the perspectives of leadership, innovation and investment. This framework provides the basis for an analysis of coastal regions and their management and a means of addressing critical questions concerning:

  • Which are the barriers to improved management of coasts and nearshore marine systems?
  • Where are the knowledge gaps and how can we improve management?
  • What are the priorities?
  • Do lessons learned identify good practices that can be widely applied, and what are the respective roles and responsibilities of the many different actors?
  • What are the gains to be achieved through the integrated, holistic approach promoted by the concept of integrated coastal zone management?

These are important questions. Our coasts are important assets that have suffered from poor management in the past. Not only do we still struggle to make more integrated policy, but we also have to work within a legacy of past mistakes . Such is the pace of change in the world today that we need new perspectives, new tools and new policies now. The consequences of failure are increased risk, increased cultural and economic loss, and continued loss of biodiversity.