Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
The authors analyse the complexity of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and explore the role that simulation gaming (SG) could play in addressing it. They present the set-up of and insights from a game-based, quasi-experimental study and policy intervention involving MSP. The simulation game MSP Challenge 2011 was played in Lisbon on 3 November 2011 by 68 international MSP professionals - mainly scientists, policy advisers and marine spatial planners - from 16 countries. Data on MSP in the various countries, as well as on the effectiveness of the policy intervention, were collected using pre-game, ingame and post-game questionnaires, combined with the analysis of MSP processes and outcomes in a digital map tool and observations. The analysis shows that MSP lends itself to comparative assessment in real and simulated environments. Observed variety and changes in the game-based intervention provide evidence that the participants engaged in experimentation with different strategies, policy change and policy-oriented learning. The game-based intervention proved an effective and promising method for national/international experimentation and exchange among professional MSP planners.
Source: I. Mayer, Q. Zhou, J. Lo, L. Abspoel, X. Keijser, E. Olsen, E. Nixon and A. Kannen (2013); “Integrated, ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Planning: Design and results of a game-based, quasi-experiment”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 82, September 2013, Pages 7 – 26; Available online under DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.04.006
The mandate of the Legal Task Force established under the South China Sea project was to evaluate the present status of legal environmental instruments at national, sub-regional and regional levels with a view to exploring ways to strengthen regional co-operation in the environmental management in the South China Sea. This article provides an overview of: signatory states' obligations for regional co-operation under major global environmental conventions; the status of existing regional co-operative mechanisms and instruments, including regional agreements and ‘soft’ laws1; national environmental legislation; and an analysis of national environmental legislation regarding major issues and themes of interest. This article demonstrates that, while the global and international conventions to which the countries of the South China Sea are parties convey obligations on the states to co-operate regionally, this obligation has generally not been met. In addition, there is no single legally-binding regional intergovernmental agreement on marine environmental protection that involves all the countries bordering the South China Sea. This review indicates that, while all countries have a suite of legal instruments designed to protect the environment and conserve natural resources, these are often not harmonised and integrated with national policies. Countries continue to be without an integrated coastal/marine management policy that sets clear priorities, principles and guidelines that can steer policy conflicts towards resolution and encourage government agencies and offices to see themselves as part of a larger effort towards proper management of coastal and marine habitats.
The article concludes with a review of potential mechanisms for future regional co-operation in environmental management and proposes alternative models. Lessons learned from the global community and regional programmes indicate a growing emphasis on the domestic implementation of global instruments via regional co-operative initiatives and maximising effectiveness. An emerging trend is the proliferation of calls to ‘strategically’ address these two needs. This suggests that an appropriate course of action for a region seeking to strengthen co-operation would be forging a legal agreement that suits regional needs and interests and, in so doing, incorporates ‘effectiveness’ into the design.
It is further concluded that the SCS region is in a unique and enviable position. Unlike most other regions, it has never adopted a legally-binding instrument and, consequently, it is free of precedent and other legal baggage. Regional co-operation is gaining momentum and South China Sea states are indicating a greater concern for environmental sustainability. There is also a growing recognition that the inefficient use of resources will only worsen without horizontal and vertical co-ordination and regional co-operation. It seems an appropriate time to consider an effective and region-appropriate course for long-term sustainability of the South China Sea and its resources, including consideration of a regional framework for co-operation, co-ordination and communication. Political commitment will determine whether any new co-operative framework becomes a paper tiger or an Asian tiger.
Keywords: Environmental Management; Legal Aspects; South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand.
Source: M. Nizam Basiron and S. M. Lexmond (2013); “Review of the legal aspects of environmental management in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Corrected Proof; Available Online: 11 May 2013, under DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.03.011
Increasing demand for outputs (goods and services such as food and energy) has already led to excessive use of marine resources, e.g., over fishing, loss of biodiversity, habitat degradation and damage to the marine environment. How to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of marine management is a common topic among nations. In China, ocean-related zoning and planning, considered as the cornerstones of the management strategy for the development, protection and management of its oceans, have been evolving and changing considerably in the past decades. This article reviews all ocean-related zoning and planning schemes in China and analyzes their features and roles. It discusses the relationships between ocean-related zoning and planning as well as relationships among marine plans, and analyzes their problems in practice to call for an integrated approach in marine management.
Keywords: Ocean; Zoning and Planning; Marine Management; China.
Source: R. Mu, L. Zhang and Q. Fang (2013); “Ocean-related zoning and planning in China: A review”; Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 82, September 2013, Pages 64 – 70; Available Online under DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.05.002
As a consequence of sea-level rise, coastal areas will more often experience extreme flooding in the future. Household-level adaptation is a form of accommodation that reduces vulnerability to flooding and can complement, or provide an alternative to, coastal protection. In this study we examine anticipatory adaptation to coastal flooding at household-level in the Axios – Loudias – Aliakmonas National Park, located at the Thermaic Gulf in Greece. A questionnaire survey was conducted and respondents (n = 491) were asked about actual adaptation behaviour as well as cognitive, socio-economic and housing variables. Additionally, they were asked to indicate their adaptation intention for the year 2050, for a range of narrative climate-change scenarios. Results show that coastal households in the region are currently adapting in different ways, primarily concentrating on low-effort measures. This behaviour is correlated to cognitive rather than socioeconomic and housing characteristics. In the future, respondents intend to adapt in a similar way, with a tendency to implement higher-effort and more costly measures when confronted with significant changes in climate. We argue that promoting household-level adaptation is an easy-to-implement and effective way of reducing vulnerability to coastal flooding, which should be integrated into coastal risk management strategies in Greece.
Keywords: Sea-level Rise; Household-level Adaptation; Coastal Flooding; Axios – Loudias – Aliakmonas National Park, Greece.
Source: J. Koerth, N. Jones, A. T. Vafeidis, P. G. Dimitrakopoulos, A. Melliou, E. Chatzidimitriou and S. Koukoulas (2013); “Household adaptation and intention to adapt to coastal flooding in the Axios – Loudias – Aliakmonas National Park, Greece”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 82, September 2013, Pages 43 – 50; Available Online under DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.05.008