Integrated Coastal Management
Integrated coastal management (ICM) is an intersectoral, spatial management approach that aims to align policies and incentives across economic sectors, and to minimize environmental impacts from coastal resource use, while maximizing benefits to society.
Depending on community needs and management concerns within the context of larger ICM plan, MPAs can be designed and managed to accommodate various objectives and activities. One of many spatial area management tools and governance frameworks, ICM can create an enabling environment for MPAs, and an ideal platform for taking marine conservation to scale. To learn more about ICM and MPAs see the World Bank's Coastal and Marine Management page.
Currently being used in about 100 countries, usually at the sub-national level, ICM offers the potential to scale up marine management. This process has occurred in the Philippines, where MPAs of the 1980’s are presently managed within an ICM framework.
Managing MPAs within an ICM framework, rather than in isolation from surrounding land uses and people, or without wide cooperation from stakeholders (agencies and users), is more likely to be successful. This is because protected areas that are isolated from a wider program of coastal resource management exist as “islands of protection,” surrounded by uncontrolled areas of threat where pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing may exist. ICM provides an appropriate framework for incorporation of MPAs into a larger system of sustainable management, and also can provide a consensus-building process for MPA designation and support. Conversely, when MPAs are planned for and managed with broader coastal issues in mind, they can encourage and catalyze a more integrated approach to legislation and management.
ICM functions include:
- Area planning for coastal development, especially around ecologically sensitive areas
- Promotion, regulation and guidance on economic development in coastal areas (e.g., siting, development guidelines, environmental assessments, mitigation measures)
- Conflict resolution (to harmonize/balance existing and proposed uses or mediate resource allocation conflicts;
- Protection of public safety (through development controls in high hazard areas)
- Proprietorship of submerged lands (marine and intertidal concessions)
- Stewardship of resources
The additional protection afforded to an MPA by ICM governance mechanisms can be beneficial; for example, to control severe impacts to coral reefs from external sources, where the MPA management agency has no jurisdiction. These impacts could originate from sources such as industrial or urban pollution, storm runoff, or inland deforestation. ICM programs are primarily directed at development management, rather than at resource use management. In this way ICM is the complement of multiple-objective MPAs, which focus on resource use management.
While ICM can contribute to the goals of an MPA, the reverse is also true. For example, a well managed coral reef MPA helps protect the beachfront from wave erosion during storms, and conserves fish spawning and nursery habitats. This potentially increases fisheries production outside the protected area, thus enhancing revenues and recreational benefits. MPAs also preserve biodiversity, and provide locations that offer a baseline for scientific studies of natural variability in the environment.