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ICZM Protocol

Bocche a mare - Maria teresa Palmese
The Mediterranean Protocol for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

The most important initiative for coastal zone management since the 1972 Stockholm Conference was the creation of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) in 1975 and the adoption of the 1976 Barcelona Convention, updated in 1995. MAP was the first UNEP regional seas programme, and is today its flagship. In spite of the difficulties and differences prevalent in the Mediterranean, for over 35 years all of the countries in the region have cooperated on a continual basis and are determined to confront the challenges to the protection of marine and coastal environments. The condition of the Mediterranean Sea and its coasts has worsened over the last 10 years. Mediterranean coastal zones are being subjected to significant pressures from a range of socio-economic activities. Although the initial focus of MAP was on controlling marine pollution, over the years its mandate has been gradually increased to include planning and integrated coastal zone management. The Barcelona Convention represents the overarching legal framework, while its 7 protocols complement the Mediterranean region legal system. The signing of the ICZM Protocol, the 7th protocol in Madrid 2008, marked the completion of 6 years of dedicated work by every Mediterranean country signatory to the Barcelona Convention. With the adoption of the ICZM Protocol, the only example of such legislation in the world, MAP has demonstrated its desire to maintain prime position in terms of governance, juridical legislation and marine coasts in regional seas. The signing has therefore signalled the beginning of an intense implementation process to guarantee that its ambitious targets for the sustainable development of Mediterranean coastal zones can be achieved. The ICZM Protocol came into force on the 24th March 2011. It was ratified by the European Commission in September 2010, indicating that the ICZM Protocol becomes a duty of the European Union which will be binding on all member states.

The ICZM Protocol definition of Integrated Coastal Zone Management

According to the definition in article 2 of the ICZM Protocol, Integrated Coastal Zone Management is a dynamic process for the management and sustainable use of coastal zones, which has a holistic consideration of the fragility of coastal ecosystems and landscapes, their variety of activities and uses, their interactions, maritime vocations and other activities which use them, and their impacts on land and sea.