Compared with the other continents, Europe has a large continental shelf and a relatively long coastline in relation to its land area. There is a wide variety of types of coastal zone, with different natural, economic and social conditions. Europe is where human impact has been greatest, and where changes in the environment have also been monitored and studied longest. Although the ecological, economic and social importance of natural coastal resources has long been acknowledged, they continue to deteriorate (
Many of Europe's coastal zones face problems of deterioration of their environmental, socio-economic and cultural resources. Since 1996, the European Commission has been working to identify and promote measures to remedy this deterioration and to improve the overall situation in our coastal zones.From 1996 to 1999, the Commission operated a Demonstration Programme on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) designed around a series of 35 demonstration projects and 6 thematic studies. This programme was aimed to:

  • Provide technical information about sustainable coastal zone management, and
  • stimulate a broad debate among the various actors involved in the planning, management or use of European coastal zones

The programme was intended to lead to a consensus regarding the measures necessary in order to stimulate ICZM in EuropeEvaluation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in Europe