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O’Mahony, C., S., Köpke, Twomey, S., O’Hagan, A.M, Farrell, E.J., and Gault, J.
Sustainable Water Network (SWAN), Ireland. Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Ireland - Meeting Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive targets for Ireland’s transitional and coastal waters through implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management
The Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) Ireland
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This report was commissioned by the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) to assess the potential contribution of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) implementation in meeting the objectives of the Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework Directives which are legally binding instruments for the conservation, protection and management of catchment, coastal and marine waters within the European Union. ICZM is a process that seeks to bring together all parties with an interest in the coast, with a view to replacing sectoral based planning and management with a more integrated approach to achieving sustainability; ICZM is underpinned by a set of principles that espouse stakeholder participation, knowledge exchange, and the need to take a holistic and long-term view.The intention of the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive is to achieve good ecological / environmental status for aquatic environments within established timeframes. Ireland, as a Member State of the EU, is obliged to meet the requirements of the aforementioned Directives, which also extend to the need for implementation of appropriate mechanisms for stakeholder engagement, data collection and monitoring, and an ecosystem based approach to management and plan-making.Ireland’s aquatic resources are under a range of pressures driven by human activity and natural processes, and the interplay between these two factors. Understanding and assessing cumulative impacts upon coastal environments will require the development of new and innovative methodological approaches, which will assist better decision-making by those tasked with the management of coastal resources. Addressing these pressures and their associated impacts will require the implementation of management approaches that can optimise contributions from all interested parties and bring the collective knowledge and resources of all parties to bear on meeting these challenges.Although not a legal requirement within the EU, ICZM reflects current European coastal and marine policy which advocates a greater emphasis on integrated approaches to management. Despite commitments to ICZM being contained within policy and national level statements of strategy, coastal management in Ireland remains sectoral in nature, and experiences with ICZM, although successful, have been limited to pilot and research projects at the local level. Steps such as the formation of Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group represent a move towards more integrated management of marine affairs but further actions are required, particularly at operational levels, to move towards an integrated approach to coastal management.Good practice examples such as those provided by the Coastal Partnership model in the UK, provide clear evidence of where the implementation of ICZM will yield benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, improving opportunity for stakeholder participation andcitizen science initiatives that can advance sustainable use of coastal resources. With regard the Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework Directives, ICZM has immense potential in contributing to the information and participation requirements needed for effective implementation of these instruments.A number of steps are critical to realising the full potential of ICZM in Ireland. These include the establishment of political support and the creation of a legal basis for ICZM to promote integrated ways of working within our coastal and marine environments, as well as the designation of a statutory body with responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of ICZM in Ireland. Similarly, the development of a national policy and strategy for integrated coastal management by Government is vital. This must facilitate the full contribution of all coastal stakeholders through targeted actions so as to provide a catalyst for meeting our sustainability goals. 
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