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The European Union environmental policy and integrated coastal zone management

Bahadır, Tuğçe
In this thesis, it has been aimed to analyse the efforts undertaken by the European Union (EU) to stimulate and enhance Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the European coastal zone, within the context of the EU Environmental Policy. ICZM was formally accepted in the international community during the 1990s as an alternative to traditional sectoral coastal zone management approaches. It aims to establish an integrated management mechanism among different sectors to minimise resource use conflicts in coastal zones. Sustainable development constitutes the underlying idea of ICZM, the overall goal of which is to achieve sustainable development in coastal zones. Therefore, ICZM is founded on the internationally accepted principles of sustainable development. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, which is a formal output of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, made an explicit statement of the need for integrated management of coastal and ocean areas to achieve their sustainability and called the participating nations to take the necessary steps. The EU, being at the forefront of such international developments and embraced sustainable development as a broader policy objective, is devoted to take concerted action in terms of protecting the European coastal zone and fostering ICZM action at the EU and the Member States (MSs) level. Since the early 1990s, the EU institutions began to put substantial effort to achieve this goal, and initiated dedicated actions. Those existing and the foreseen EU actions are elaborated within the context of this thesis. For the time being, the EU ICZM action is a flexible one without a regulatory binding instrument for ICZM. The ongoing EU ICZM action is based upon the existing EU policies and legislation. Within this framework, the central aim of the EU is laid down as to ensure the coordination and integration of these diversified policy objectives and legislative instruments to contribute to sustainable management of the European coastal zone. Since they constitute the backbone of the current EU ICZM efforts, those policies and legislation are also investigated within the scope of this study. This thesis accentuates the importance of concerted EU action in terms of stimulating ICZM action in Europe and the probability of a future EU level devotion towards a more regulatory approach in the longer term.