The Integrated Project SPICOSA, funded by the EU´s Sixth Framework Programme, took off in February 2007 with the aim to develop and test a self-evolving, operational research approach framework for the assessment of policy options for the sustainable management of coastal zone systems. It is therefore of high relevance to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and other related European policies.

To achieve this, 54 partners from 21 countries have joined to produce a Systems Approach Framework (SAF), and other tools, to apply a ‘systems approach’ to coastal zone science. Key to this approach is the science-policy integration to improve and enhance closer and effective integration and common deliberation over coastal issues. The project had the ambition to guide and support European coastal policy-makers by providing them with means to understand the effects of their policies – the SAF.

The tools developed by SPICOSA have been tested at 18 different Study Sites across Europe, each with their own identified ‘key issue’.

We have tried to assist Europe in its goal of achieving Sustainable Development by the development of a conceptual methodological framework for this transition in coastal zones. The SPICOSA initiative originated from the fact that coastal systems are under increasing human pressure and policy has not been able to respond properly to the resulting negative impacts on ecological, social and economic systems. As a consequence, we have realized that more innovative effort was needed to treat the coastal zone as an integral functioning system (the CZ System), to focus more on how to provide prognostic information or this integrated system, and to improve the ways in which research information about this is utilized for decision making, The SPICOSA working hypothesis was that our present approach to managing our CZ resource needs a much improved, interactive link between the best interests of the natural-resource system and the society that benefits from it.

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Click here to learn more about the SSAs