ICZM Scoping Pressures and Drivers

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The objective of this task is to describe the generally understood conditions of the coastal zone at the start of the ICZM Process, whether or not they are verified or verifiable at this stage. It is better to include all perceived problems and issues at this stage, leaving them to be “distilled” into a manageable and refined set of “core” issues later in the Process.


The initial identification of Drivers and Pressures is next, and it could be carried as an independent task, or, if conditions allow it, as the first two stages of the DPSIR (Drivers- Pressures-State -Impacts-Response) framework that provides the converging framework for assessment, planning and indicators.

Drivers are the high-level forces that “drive” the society to impose or decrease pressure on the environment of the coastal zone and watershed. As with the Problems and Issues analysis, the identification of drivers must encompass the full spectrum of the 3 pillars of sustainability.

The objectives of this analysis are to describe how these natural and societal drivers lead to pressures on the coastal zone ecosystem, and to provide a vital communication tool to engage stakeholders. These could include:

  • Demography and urbanisation
  • Use of resources
  • Economics (e.g. globalisation, market, commerce, GDP and poverty)
  • Climate change
  • Use and adaptation to technology
  • Social and political change
  • Scientific and technological changes
  • Cultural drivers (consumer choice & perception)
  • Land- and marine-use management and changes.

Additionally, the analysis of drivers should also include relevant existing or potential economic, social and environmental policies and programmes of governments at all levels that will drive change in an area. Examples include sub-regional economic policies, agricultural subsidy regimes, fisheries quotas, and waste and water quality directives. These will include both national and local policies and legal instruments, as well as relevant global, regional and European legislation and conventions. Conversely, the lack of a comprehensive or adequate policy and legislative framework may also be considered a driver.

Techniques & Tools

The identification of Drivers & Pressures at the ESTABLISHMENT stage will primarily be a desktop exercise supported by participative techniques such as brainstorming (for example, the Blue Plan's “Imagine” systemic and sustainability analysis method), the results being clustered according to a list similar to that above - the Drivers will therefore be indicative rather than definitive at this stage.

Pressures will require a higher level of quantification in many areas. However, spatial disaggregation of relevant data (such as GDP levels), trends or information to the local, coastal level may not always be possible. Approximations in the form of simple categorisations (such as moderate, severe, very severe, low, medium, high), or simple numerical scales (such as 1-5) may be appropriate. Such simplification may have benefits in saving time and aiding communication with non-technical stakeholders. Even the use of emoticon symbols has been used to good effect in some areas.


See also



This article has been drafted by PAP/RAC
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

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