Coastal zones contain some of world's most intensively used environments. Increasing demand for coastal resources has led, in some cases, to degradation through loss of habitat and fisheries resources, reduced water quality and quantity, accelerated erosion and accumulation of pollution. This degradation has serious social and economic consequences for coastal communities. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is a management approach that acknowledges the interconnectedness of natural systems, and seeks to integrate efforts across the various levels of government, policies, instruments and stakeholders to support sustainable use of coastal resources. ICZM not only aims to protect the natural functioning of coastal ecosystems, but also seeks to improve the economic and social well-being of coastal zone communities. In the coastal zone, these environmental and socioeconomic goals are intrinsically interconnected. ICZM can be applied in many of the world's coastal areas, which face problems of deterioration of their environmental, socio-economic and cultural resources and competition for space by the fishing, shipping, agriculture and tourism industries, amongst others.
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