The COASTAL project: Increasing land-sea synergies and coastal-rural collaboration for a healthy ocean
Alice Guittard and
Phoebe Koundouri ()
Additional contact information
Ebun Akinsete: ICRE8
Alice Guittard: ICRE8
No 2007, DEOS Working Papers from Athens University of Economics and Business
Coastal and sea regions not only concentrate populations and intensive economic activity but also environmental stresses and higher levels of pollution. On the other hand, rural hinterlands face depopulation and often economic recession while still environmentally impacting coastal regions. Land-based activities (agriculture, forestry, industries and urbanization) are directly and indirectly impacting land, coastal and sea ecosystems (soil and river pollutions, marine water eutrophication, etc.), the coastal region are the downstream recipient of land use negative practice externalities. At river basin scale, despite the fact that land-based ecosystems are linked to coastal and sea ecosystems through water flows, the understanding of these links remains limited partly due to sectorized and fragmented research and governance practices. At the European policy level, legislations follow these spatial and sectoral approaches, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategic Framework Directive (MSFD) which seek to achieve 'Good Environmental Status' of rivers and marine water respectively, but both lack interconnections and common working principles. Although river water flows directly impact coastal and marine waters, neither the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) nor the Integrate Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) principles sufficiently address the gaps between sea management, coastal management and inland management. The EU H2020 COASTAL project adopts an innovative source-to-sea approach where at river basin scale, sea, coastal and rural regions are seen as a whole and single ecosystem. The project seeks to improve land-sea synergies in strategic business and policy decision making, and collaborations between coastal and rural stakeholders in order to (1) create connections between land ecosystems and coastal ecosystems, for sustainable use and management of theses ecosystems as well as reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to the sustainable use of freshwater (SDG 6), seas (SDG14), terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15) and climate change impacts (SDG13); (2) support sustainable growth in rural, coastal and marine sectors by fostering cross-sectoral collaborations; (3) develop links between EU WFD, MFD and CAP by developing policy alternatives for coastal-rural areas. The COASTAL project adopts a strong participatory multi-actor, bottom-up approach based on collaboration between rural, coastal and sea stakeholders. The methodology and tools used combine local and scientific knowledge to explore and analyse social, environmental and economic land-sea interactions in a collaborative System-Dynamic framework to identify problems and develop practical and robust business road maps and strategic policy guidelines to improve land-sea synergies and coastal-rural collaborations. The project adopts an interactive approach via Multi-Actors Labs (MALs) centered around 6 selected coastal regions (in Belgium, Sweden, Romania, Greece, Spain and France) with both common as well as unique opportunities and challenges.
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