Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The ESDP and Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Implications for the Integrated Management of the Irish Sea

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The ESDP and Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Implications for the Integrated Management of the Irish Sea

Article excerpt

This paper explores the application of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) and the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach in establishing a framework for the management of transnational maritime areas (regional seas). The paper begins with a summary of the development of ICZM activities in the EU leading to the establishment of the European coastal strategy and the EU Recommendation on ICZM. This is followed by an exploration of the relationships between the European guidance on ICZM and the ESDP and a possible extended spatial management framework for European regional seas. Some suggestions are made as to the potential application of this framework in the policy context of the Irish Sea. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the study in relation to the management of the Irish Sea, to ICZM activity in the implementation of the European coastal strategy and for the application of the ESDP itself.

In his introduction to this special issue of Town Planning Review, Andreas Faludi explores the concept of 'application' as it relates to the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP). Two points of particular relevance to this paper are, first, the emphasis on the role of the ESDP in providing a frame of reference for those developing policies that have a spatial impact within the Community so as to achieve balanced and sustainable spatial development. Its purpose is to stimulate ideas, provide a basis for ordering thoughts and give direction to action. Second, Faludi stresses the point that the ESDP seeks to influence strategies and programmes at all levels from the Community and transnational/national to the regional/local. However, the transnational level is identified as the most important of the three. This is because transnational strategies and programmes are seen as being especially valuable in assisting the application of sectoral Community policies and in supporting the coordination of Community, national, regional and local policies.

These two considerations underpin Section 4 of the ESDP which elaborates on the application of the Perspective's three 'spatial policy guidelines'- 'polycentric spatial development and a new urban-regional relationship'; 'parity of access to infrastructure and knowledge'; and 'wise management of the natural and cultural heritage'. These are developed as a series of 'policy aims', each of which may be expressed through the local/regional/national/Community application of appropriate combinations of 'policy options', of which there are 60 in all. Seven groupings of typical policy options-including Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)-are identified in which ESDP thinking is seen to be key to achieving balanced and sustainable development. As the document states 'due to increasing sectoral conflicts, demographic developments and the multitude of institutions and players with a stake in coastal zones, these areas represent an important challenge for EU-wide spatial development' (CEC, 1999b, 37). Given the deteriorated state of many of Europe's regional seas and the perceived threats to their wildlife, habitats and other resources, Policy Option 50, 'concerted management of the seas, in particular preservation and restoration of threatened maritime ecosystems' (CEC, 1999b, 33), deriving from ESDP concerns for the special challenges of water resource management in the Community, has a particular resonance as part of a potential package of policy options for ICZM. However, there is a challenge in linking together moves for the application of the ESDP, for the implementation of ICZM and for the consideration of the concerted management of the seas as part of both processes. In the spirit of experimentation implied by Faludi's comments, this paper therefore explores the potential relationships between the ESDP and the ICZM strategy for Europe. It then considers how these relationships may be developed and applied to provide a new and extended frame of reference for the integrated management of transnational maritime areas (regional seas), and provides some indicative suggestions as to how this framework might be envisaged in relation to the case of the Irish Sea. …

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