Lessons learned from ICZM in Belgium, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom

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The European Parliament and Council released in 2002 the recommendation ‘2002/413/EC’[1] to develop and implement Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in Europe. All EU member states were requested to develop national ICZM strategies until 2006. The response of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (‘Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit’; BMU) has been to publish an ICZM strategy in March 2006[2]. But the ICZM process in Germany still contains significant gaps. In particular, it is not clarified adequately how to implement formally ICZM in the German legal system.


The objective of this study was to analyse three other European ICZM processes (Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) to derive lessons learned for ICZM in Germany in order to reduce or eliminate the gaps identified in the German ICZM process.

Research questions

What are the lessons to be learned concerning formal implementation from the ICZM strategies of three other EU member states, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom?

  • a) Where and how is ICZM formally implemented in the particular country? Are the principles of ICZM integrated in existing structures, initiatives, and networks?
  • b) Which institution/person is responsible for ICZM? What are their tasks?
Figure 1: Localisation of European countries taken into account to derive lessons learned for the ICZM process in Germany.

Research methods

First, lessons learned are defined on the basis of Secchi (1999[3]), whereupon a “lesson learned is knowledge or understanding gained by experience. (…) A lesson must be significant in that it has a real or assumed impact on operations; valid in that is factually and technically correct; and applicable in that it identifies a specific design, process, or decision that reduces or eliminates the potential for failures and mishaps, or reinforces a positive result”.

Second, these lessons learned were drawn according to the classification of Rose (1991[4]). He has identified five ways of lesson drawing: “copying” (more or less intact adoption of a programme), “emulation” (adoption with adjustment for different circumstances), “hybridization” (combining elements of programmes from two different places), “synthesis” (combining familiar elements from programmes in effect in three or more places), or “inspiration” (programmes elsewhere used as an intellectual stimulus for developing a novel programme without an analogue elsewhere).

Lessons learned from the European context

Below, the current ICZM situation of Belgium, The Netherlands and the United is presented. Thereupon, the lessons learned for the German ICZM process are displayed according to the research questions mentioned above.


Concerning formal implementation, the priority approach of the Netherlands is worth to mention for the German ICZM process. It stands for the priority of flood safety measures at the Dutch coast, at which other coastal interests have to follow by integrating them in flood safety measures. Therewith, ICZM becomes a practicable management tool that can be integrated in flood safety measures. Referring to responsibilities and tasks, the Coordination Point of Belgium, and the Dutch philosophy of decentralisation are good examples how responsibilities of ICZM are divided. Overall, the trend is giving as much responsibility as possible to the regions. The Belgium Coastal Barometer constitutes a simple set of indicators for sustainable development of the coast. Therewith, it can make a contribution to the German ICZM process where “simple” indicators are needed (BMU, 2006[2]). The lessons learned from the United Kingdom refer to the issue of participation. Coastal Forums have a great potency for networking, keeping up-to-date, exchanging information and raising issues for discussion, but often suffering from the phenomenon of ‘consultation fatigue’. The principle of early participation holds potential for Germany since it seems to be an adequate tools to ensure that stakeholders are formally and early involved in ICZM processes.


  1. European Parliament and Council, 2002. Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). 2002/413/EC, Brussels.
  2. 2.0 2.1 BMU, 2006. Integriertes Küstenzonenmanagement in Deutschland. Nationale Strategie für ein integriertes Küstenzonenmanagement (Bestandsaufnahme, Stand 2006), BMU, Bonn, pp. 99.
  3. Secchi, P., 1999. Proceedings of Alerts and Lessons Learned: An Effective way to prevent failures and problems. Technical Report WPP-167, Noordwijk, pp. 57-61.
  4. Rose, R., 1991. What is lesson-drawing? Journal of Public Policy, 11(1): 3-30.

See also

The main author of this article is Tim Nandelstaedt
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Tim Nandelstaedt (2020): Lessons learned from ICZM in Belgium, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Available from http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Lessons_learned_from_ICZM_in_Belgium,_The_Netherlands_and_the_United_Kingdom [accessed on 18-05-2024]