Member States of the European Union and the Mediterranean Regional Sea need to elaborate national strategies for coastal management according to ICZM principles and to undertake national stock-taking, which must consider major actors, laws and institutions influencing the management of their national coastal zone. However, different approaches to coastal management and defence and various degrees of development and implementation of national ICZM strategies can be found. The research presented in this article aims to analyze the different situations and to contribute to the further development of a common approach in terms of methodology to establish stakeholder and users participation in ICZM. An extensive survey was conducted in five pilot sites along the European Mediterranean coastal zone (Greece, Italy and France) show beach visitors’ perception of ICZM, coastal erosion and coastal defence systems, and beach visitors’ Willingness To Pay (WTP) for beach defence. The survey yielded important information for coastal and beach managers. Surprisingly, the level of awareness about generic Coastal Zone Management was found to be rather low in all regions except Riccione Southern beach, Emilia-Romagna Region. In the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, this is justified by the fact that most of the respondents were not local people or beach visitors (other than recreational day-visitors). As regards coastal erosion it appears significant that, despite the lack of awareness demonstrated overall by stakeholders in the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, visitors respond very positively to definitions and show awareness of the erosion process in their coastal system. In conclusion, in order to raise public awareness about ICZM, erosion and coastal defence systems, it is suggested that education, training and public awareness should be promoted as well as identification of local needs for the implementation of specific demand-driven studies.
ICZM and coastal defence perception by beach users: lessons from the Mediterranean coastal area
14 January 2014