Project overview

OURCOAST is a three-year project commissioned by the Directorate General (DG) Environment of the European Commission to support and ensure the exchange of experiences and best practices in coastal planning and management. This initiative was made possible thanks to the European Parliament that voted a dedicated resource for this purpose into the EU budget in 2008. The three-year project has started in January 2009 after a tender procedure and with a budget of € 1 million.
Through OURCOAST, the European Commission aims to ensure that lessons learned from the coastal management experiences and practices can be shared and are made accessible to those who are seeking sustainable solutions to their coastal management practices.
OURCOAST will focus in particular on adaptation to risks and the impacts of climate change, information and communication systems, planning and land management instruments, and institutional coordination mechanisms.


Since 1996, the European Commission has intensively worked to promote Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) as an approach to integrated planning and management, in which all policies, sectors and interests are properly taken into account to achieve sustainable coastal development. The EU ICZM Recommendation requested the EU coastal Member States to set up strategies to promote ICZM along their shorelines.
Some constraints to the ICZM implementation are reflected in the lack of proper means for exchange experiences and access to outstanding studies and best practices being produced in coastal European countries, at different authority levels. OURCOAST seeks to help filling in this gap and provides a platform for exchange of knowledge while demonstrating and exemplifying that integrated approaches are preferable to sectorial ones.
OURCOAST is therefore a further step in the joint efforts of the European Commission, Member States, coastal regions and networks to support and implement sustainable integrated coastal planning and management.

Expected results

The main final product of OURCOAST is the ICZM Database – a comprehensive compilation of hundreds of case study summaries that reflect successful examples of ICZM tools applied throughout Europe. A multi lingual website will host the ICZM database and will provide navigation and information about OURCOAST in ten European languages.
This will be done and complemented by a series of other activities, together with these of public interest for the implementation of ICZM in Europe. These include:
- Collection, description and evaluation of a minimum of 350 ICZM case studies
- Comparative analysis of ICZM experiences leading to an overview of the state-of-the-art by theme and typical success and fail factors
- Review of most relevant EU policies and legislation and their effects for the implementation of coastal zone management and marine planning
- Development and validation of guidance for authorities for future integrated coastal and marine planning and for the design of policies and tools.
- Development of recommendations that can set the implementation agenda of ICZM for the next decade
- Development of a contact list of EU, national, regional, local coastal and marine stakeholders and other interested parties on ICZM implementation
- Organisation of a final stakeholders event in Latvia (Autumn 2011)

The team

OURCOAST project is being developed by a consortium led by ARCADIS and its sub-contractor the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC).

Project’s website: ec.europa.eu/ourcoast