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Integrated Coastal Zone Management Law in the European Union

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The achievement of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in the European Union inevitably raises questions of law. Law has the potential to assist ICZM, but it also has the capacity to impede it. The European Demonstration Programme on ICZM has revealed considerable diversity within the 13 national legal systems governing the European Union (EU) coastal zone, but it has also shown a similarity of legal problems and has identified some examples of good practice. There are already provisions of European Community (EC) and international law that exert a unifying influence on aspects of coastal management in Europe. However the constitutional powers of the EU are limited by the legal principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and any ICZM initiative must be consistent with these. The potential mechanisms available include a legally binding EC directive, but the European Com mission has instead preferred a nonbinding recommendation and strategic guidance. Each approach offers some practical advantages and disadvantages, but the success of any method will ultimately depend upon political will.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Marine and Environmental Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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