Human Capacity Building

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The scope and complexity of ICZM programmes are directly dependent on the available capacity in terms of human resources. Human Capacity Building addresses the preparation of the required coastal actors to carry out ICZM. It should focus on building an individual’s Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (K/S/A), while at the same time expanding and strengthening the network of individuals by building teams or cadres of ICZM experts across the European region and, potentially, institutions which will significantly improve the practice of coastal management.

Although there is already a considerable quantity and diversity of on-going efforts, fragmentation of the training and educational effort, disconnection between training efforts and management priorities, and the lack of synergy between Capacity Building initiatives are cited as major concerns and main priorities in many reports (See also Key priority ICZM capacity building related issues in Europe.)

Human Capacity Building has been discussed in several forums in Europe. Among the interpretations and suggestions presented, the following states that: ICZM represents a new management paradigm for the coastal professionals and a new way of thinking for the scientists. Therefore, Human Capacity Building efforts need to be made in two areas:

(i) to educate and train a cadre of new coastal professionals in the concepts, skills, knowledge and attitudes needed for ICZM; and

(ii) to re-orient existing coastal professionals entering the ICZM field through single disciplines and sectors[1].

Types of Human Capacity Building efforts

There are different types of Human Capacity Building efforts depending on the coastal actors or target populations, namely: Education, Training, Professional Development and Public Awareness.

Additionally, these efforts can be academic or non-academic in origin as well as formal or informal in nature:

Formal Capacity Building includes education, training and professional development. They are important means to contribute to Human Capacity Building, which addresses the preparation of the required coastal actors to carry out ICZM.

Informal Capacity Building addresses the creation of structures and networks which allow access to information on ICZM and builds understanding of corresponding concepts and methodologies in stakeholders who would not seek education and training through formal routes. These structures and networks also create significant extra capacity for knowledge increase amongst ICZM practitioners themselves.

Besides, with the incorporation of new information technologies in education, a number of computer-based learning tools are being developed alongside ICZM programmes. Nevertheless, according to the abovementioned review, although face to face teaching is still the main method of delivering ICZM related courses, the percentage of distance-learning and e-learning courses is increasing.

Education / Training

There are different definitions for both education and training:

  • Education refers to teaching of fundamental knowledge on a certain disciplinary field;
  • Training refers to teaching of vocational or practical knowledge that relates to specific useful skills.

Thus, education differs from training fundamentally in the type of knowledge being taught. Nevertheless, there are other relevant differences such as the length of the courses (long educational courses vs. short training courses), or the target population (training courses usually focus on professionals that need to be introduced to new techniques, tools or skills in order to adapt to their changing working environment).

Professional development

Professional development refers to the enhancement of personnel working in ICZM related fields by providing them with new Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes (S/K/A) for performing new tasks strictly related to the ICZM Policy Cycle (see also Capacity Building Needs Associated to the ICZM Cycle). This includes Continuous Professional Development (CPD) activities for new and existing coastal professionals.

Public awareness

See also Informal Capacity Building

Experience has shown that in many political cultures around the globe, one of the most important aspects of ICZM is the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the planning and implementation process. Many of the most successful examples of ICZM highlight the involvement of local stakeholders as a key factor in their success.

However, the majority of people who should be involved (key stakeholders) are not specialists in ICZM, nor do they have the time or motivation to undertake study/training in this area.


  1. Cicin-Sain B, Knecht R, Vallega A, Harakunarak A. Education and training in integrated coastal management: lessons from the international arena. Ocean & Coastal Management 2000; 43:291-330.

The main author of this article is Garriga, Maica
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Garriga, Maica (2020): Human Capacity Building. Available from [accessed on 17-07-2024]