by Xavier Marti, DEDUCE project coordinator, Department
of Environment and Housing, Government of Catalonia, Spain
During the passed three years, the Ministry
of Environment and Housing of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia
has led the INTERREG IIIC South project “DEDUCE”
(Développement Durable des Zones Côtières
An important element of the project was the application of indicators
of sustainable development (ISD) for the coastal zone. This
experience could be very useful for SPICOSA, and coordination
between the two initiatives would certainly be very beneficial
for establishing an ICZM evaluation system for the European
coastal and maritime zones.
The DEDUCE results will contribute towards
the consolidation of the fundaments of the “European Monitoring
and Data Network” for the coastal and maritime zones (EMODNET)
in the framework of the European Maritime Policy (http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs).
The DEDUCE Indicators Guidelines will help to complete the set
of ISD, elaborate an indicator based sustainability evaluation
model, create a coastal and maritime data infrastructure, and
develop the information network.
Over the coming years, EU funded projects related
to ICZM should be very well coordinated in order to complete
this work. At the same time, the results of the SPICOSA project
will enable European coastal stakeholders to answer the crucial
question of ‘what is required for sustainable development
of coastal zones’.
I would like to highlight two main areas where
SPICOSA and DEDUCE follow-up activities can produce complementary
outputs: (i) development of a sustainability evaluation system
and (ii) integration of scale. The System Approach Framework
(SAF) proposed and tested by the SPICOSA project could be a
very important contribution towards developing tools for evaluating
the sustainability of the coastal and maritime zones. To this
end, close interaction between the SPICOSA managers and DEDUCE
follow-up projects should be pursued. The practical utility
and global application of the SAF can be ensured through the
use of the ISD approach, on the condition that the ISD approach
needs an input in order to increase its flexibility at all spatial
scales. While the 18 SPICOSA study site applications will provide
very useful information for the local scale, the main question
‘what is required for sustainable development of coastal
and marine zones?’ needs a flexible and global answer.
It will certainly not be possible to apply the same criteria
or indicators for the evaluation of the sustainability of a
coastal urban unit, of a coastal tourist unit, or of a coastal
natural unit such as a delta.
It is also clear that the sustainability criteria
and indicators can be different for each sustainability goal
- economic and social aspects cannot be treated the same way
as biodiversity or climate change aspects. The SAF approach
will make it possible to overcome the limits and barriers of
the sectoral vision taking into account the interactions between
the social, economic, territorial, and environmental aspects.
In addition, the ISD approach can achieve this.
Although the capacity of SPICOSA to build a
tool for integrated analysis and sustainability evaluation is
very strong, its potential would be enhanced greatly through
cooperation with other initiatives such as DEDUCE follow-up
projects in order to integrate better the indicators approach
and to produce more useful and practical tools for coastal and
maritime decision makers.
The EC, the EU Member States and EU regions
are in the process of consolidating their own sustainable coastal
and maritime policies. In particular, they need an integrated
and practical tool to organize well their information and to
improve their decision making capacity. To this aim, it is necessary
to coordinate the efforts for providing a compatible, synergic
and complete package of ICZM tools.
Cardiff University hosts virtual workshop
“Identification of Training Needs”
On January 14th, Cardiff University (UK) hosted
the first virtual workshop to identify training needs of coastal
professionals working in the SPICOSA project. Twenty-five representatives
from SPICOSA Knowledge Transfer team (Node 5), Study Site Applications
and sister projects ENCORA, CoastLearn and COREPOINT gathered
for a two-hour virtual workshop. Participants were linked via
telephone and to real-time PowerPoint presentations.
A briefing package was distributed prior to
the workshop so participants had clear information on the aims
and content, as well as directions on how to join and contribute
to the workshop. The package proved to be particularly useful
and saved a great deal of time during the workshop.
Part of J. Hills Presentation on “What
The virtual workshop specifically considered
issues facing Study Site Applications (SSAs), training delivered
by existing providers, approaches to assessing training needs,
experiences from the COREPOINT and ENCORA projects, potential
topics to be delivered by the SPICOSA project and modes of delivery.
Participants were asked to complete two questionnaires immediately
after the workshop. Some asked if they could discuss the questionnaires
with the rest of their SSA team, thus stimulating debate beyond
Because of the workshop, a roadmap for developing
and delivering training modules was agreed. This set out modules
to be delivered, format of delivery, pilot sites and rollout
and was used as the basis of the SPICOSA deliverable 13.1 “Identification
of Training Needs”. The report is available on the SPICOSA
website under the section Reports Online.
For more information contact Jeanette Reis,
Cardiff University (UK), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
mid–cluster meeting answered fundamental questions
As with a lot of things in life (and in SPICOSA)
defining ones existence is a challenging task. Things were no
different for the SPICOSA Atlantic / Mid-Atlantic cluster. Were
we truly Atlantic? Were we truly in the middle? Where is the
middle? Moreover, as soon as you define and re-define your existence,
exceptions to the rule pop up – for example, does the
Danube SSA make us less Atlantic or less middle? ‘To be
or not to be’ while it certainly was not the question,
is an important lesson for working in the broader SPICOSA project.
While we did not dwell on our ‘Atlantic-ness’ or
‘centre-ness’ for very long, this wayward discussion
is leading to a point…stay with me.
Definitions in SPICOSA are problematic and
important. What is a ‘policy issue’? What is an
‘ecological dysfunction?’ How do they relate? What
is a ‘virtual system’? Is SPICOSA an ICZM version
of the Matrix? Defining these and many other SPICOSA terms is
a critical step within the Systems Approach Framework (SAF).
We found that SSAs had multiple meanings for these and other
terms, in addition stakeholders were often confused or defined
them differently. This all has relevance to rolling out the
SAF – as it is the interpretations of these terms that
set up upon the path of further modelling, data gathering and
linking to stakeholders and policy. Choose the wrong path and
you might end up in a different part of the forest!!
Mid-cluster meeting team
One key objective of the mid-cluster meeting
was to try and get past the difficult interpretations, for example
a CATWOE, and dive into the work together. The most useful exercise
was the sharing of knowledge around ICZM, different ways to
attack the problems presented in the SAF, and ways to move forward
together. For many of us it was the first time we had met or
worked closely together, an important step in building this
capacity and expertise. Overall, it was a very productive and
enjoyable two days, with many SSAs expressing relief (or joy!)
at being able to share their views and concerns. The SSA cluster
meetings, no matter how they are defined, seem to be an engine
of innovation and a source of help for interpreting and learning
from the SPICOSA process.
By Tavis Potts, Firth of Clyde SSA and
Cluster Leader, e-mail: Tavis.Potts@sams.ac.uk
Approach Framework moves ahead at study sites
Between 4th and 8th of
February, more than seventy SPICOSA partners joined and enjoyed
the Carnival break workshop at the University of Algarve in
Faro, Portugal. They came from all around coastal Europe and
represented the 18 Study Sites Applications (SSAs) and Work
Packages 4, 8, 11 and 12 responsible for the methodologies of
the system approach framework definition, conceptual models,
step formulation, communication, and training.
Various workshops and pleasant sunny breaks
promoted lively discussions, new encounters and better understanding
among the partners representing a very broad spectrum of coastal
sciences. The researchers presented and shared their Study Site
Applications experiences, followed by discussions about the
System formulation step, including the use and adaptation of
the existing models for the SSAs. Information and experience
was shared about local stakeholder involvement activities, problem
definition, issue ranking, and planning of work. The event was
a milestone and marked the progress made at the sites during
the first year of the project.
Before leaving, a training field visit to the
Guadiana Estuary (the SSA-11 under the responsibility of the
team of Tomasz Boski from CIMA UALG) was led by John Icely and
Bruno Fragoso under the generous Southern sun.
Partners at workshop
After the workshop, hectic activity is anticipated
for each Study Site team, not only for submitting their annual
reports in time, but also for doing the necessary revisions
needed for the next task, the Formulations Step.
For further details contact Study Site
Coordinator Josianne Stottrup, e-mail: email@example.com
and/or the Guadiana Estuary SSA Coordinator Tomasz Boski, e-mail:
List of upcoming events
RESILIENCE 2008 - Resilience, Adaptation
and Transformation in Turbulent Times International Science
and Policy Conference
Date: April 14 – 17, 2008
Place: University of Stockholm, SWEDEN
ECOSYSTEM Services; Solution for problems
or a problem that needs solutions?
Date: May 13 – 15, 2008
Place: Salzau Castle, GERMANY
1st PoCoast Seminar on Coastal Research
Date: May 26 - 28, 2008
Place: Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, PORTUGAL
2008 SUMMER SCHOOL ON ENVIRONMENTAL DYNAMICS
Date: June 13 - 20, 2008
Place: Venice, Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, Palazzo
Important date: Deadline for applications is April 15, 2008.
LITTORAL 2008 - A CHANGING COAST: CHALLENGE
THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
Date: November 26 - 28, 2008
Place: Venice, Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, Palazzo
Important date: Abstract submission 28th April 2008
The Project will test and improve its methodology,
the System Approach Framework (SAF) at various sites in a limited,
real-time configuration. We have chosen eighteen Study Site
Applications (SSAs) all over Europe for this purpose. In each
issue of this SPICOSA Newsletter, we will introduce some study
Barcelona Coast, Spain
The metropolitan area of Barcelona, situated
on the northwestern Mediterranean coast, has a population of
over two million and has been a major economic centre since
the end of the 18th century. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia,
an autonomous region of Spain and is home to one of Europe’s
principle Mediterranean ports for both cargo and cruise ships,
and the second largest airport in the country.
The city is situated on the plateau between
the coast and the Collserola mountain range and between the
two rivers of the Llobregat, to the southwest, and the Besòs
to the north east. The 30 km of linear coastline is broken by
various coastal infrastructures such as ports, and protective
barriers. Typical Mediterranean hydrological conditions exist
such as almost negligible tides and low energy wave activity.
The most persistent current direction is to the south-west with
an average velocity of between 5 and 10 cm per second. The oligotrophic
marine waters are naturally enriched by the deep Mediterranean
waters through winter mixing and sporadically by freshwater
The coast receives average discharges from
the Besòs and Llobregat of 5 and 20 m³ per second respectively
although this is subject to extreme variation during storms
– rising as high as 2000 m³ per second. Both rivers pass
through urban, industrial and agricultural zones covering river
basins of 1000 km² (Besòs) and 5000 km² (Llobregat).
During high precipitation events, the city’s storm collectors
are unable to cope with the large volume of water and untreated
urban water run-off is released directly into the coastal waters.
The coastline is almost completely artificial,
mostly occupied by the industrial and leisure ports, the rest
of which has been regenerated as municipal beaches, totaling
around 5 km. Despite hard coastal infrastructures such as groins
and breakwaters, the beaches suffer erosion and require regular
regeneration following storms. The beaches were constructed
prior to the 1992 Summer Olympic Games on land previously inhabited
by industrial buildings. Pollution released by these industries
for many decades has resulted in the accumulation of contaminated
Most impacts on the coastal zone are a result
of typical urban activities such as waste-water treatment and
soil-sealing due to urbanisation. Marine related impacts stem
from pollution from the ports, dredging and dumping. Additionally,
agricultural and industrial pollution is released into the river
basins, affecting the quality of the coastal water and local
fisheries, and resulting in the loss of some key commercial
species. This impact has also been exacerbated by spatial conflicts
between the expanding commercial port and fishing guilds.
The beach is popular for both the local residents
of Barcelona and the large number of tourists that visit the
city. The aesthetic quality of the water is often affected during
storms resulting from untreated waste water and the river plumes
that form near the river Besòs. Occasionally bathing
is prohibited if bacteria levels rise too high or during the
presence of harmful algal blooms or jellyfish, thus reducing
the recreational appeal of the coastal zone, affecting the revenues
of local businesses.
By Ben Tomlinson, Barcelona Coast (Spain)
SSA Team, e-mail: <Tomlinson@icm.csic.es>
The study area is located at the south-western
part of the Netherlands and the north-western part of Belgium.
It is formed by three major rivers: the Scheldt, the Rhine and
The Scheldt-Delta SPICOSA case study is an
E(cological) S(ocial) and E(conomic) assessment of the major
Water Framework Directive (WFD) objective of achieving good
ecological status concerning phytoplankton in the Scheldt river
basin including the coastal zone. The focus is on social and
economic analysis of apportionment of nitrogen objectives in
the river basin, and feasibility and costs of nitrate reduction
measures concerning agriculture, households and natural areas.
This issue emerged as one of two priorities during a meeting
with stakeholders engaged in the Belgian-Dutch Delta area.
In a transboundary context, the WFD allows
for exemptions in cases where a certain Member State cannot
resolve the reasons for not achieving the environmental objectives
because they lay outside the competence and jurisdiction of
the Member State. There is also the political debate concerning
what should be subjected to a systems analysis, where measures
should be taken and for what price and affecting whom. The phasing
of the implementation of measures and the setting of less stringent
objectives are part of an assessment of disproportionality.
Disproportional costs in comparison to the benefits are based
on affordability arguments and distributional consequences.
The need for case studies is identified at the EU level in the
WFD Common Implementation Strategy process.
The contribution of the Scheldt river to the
annual budget of nitrogen in the adjacent coastal zone is significant.
Common understanding of the differences in assessment methodologies
and common approaches will enhance solutions to meet the WFD
The Transboundary Scheldt river basin with
coastal waters, transitional waters and rivers requiring cost-effective
measures to reach WFD good ecological quality objectives
Ecological indicators to be used are identical
to those formulated within the WFD Scheldt river basin management
plan. The selected key indicators are Chlorophyll–a and
Phaeocystis. Economic indicators will be not only costs of measures
related to WFD compliance, but might also be the added value
in integration with Birds and Habitat Directive and Flood Directive.
Social indicators might relate to regional prevalence, governance,
and political choices in willingness to pay. Political aspects
to be considered using the indicators will contribute to key
questions of spread of costs in time, affordability, and disproportionality.
The overarching management objective is to
comply with the regulations set by the WFD in such a way that
the Ecological Quality Objective for the receiving water is
reached. The desired reduction of the nitrogen concentrations
in the North Sea can be obtained by emission reductions of point
and diffuse sources or by increasing (more wetlands) the self-cleaning
capacity (especially the denitrification) of water systems in
the drainage area of the Scheldt River. The major point sources
of nitrogen in the Scheldt are waste water treatment plants;
the major diffuse source is agriculture. The effect of an increasing
self-cleaning capacity by denitrification will be calculated
by adding different “virtual” areas with different
characteristics and water balances to the conceptual model,
not real existing areas in the Scheldt river basin.
A full PCraster based hydrological model of
the complete Scheldt catchment will be made, to assess the different
point and non-point sources of the N-load. This will involve
quantification of the contributions of agriculture and domestic
sewage treatment works. Most of the data are available in a
wide range of reports, and where these are unavailable fairly
sound educated guesses from nearby catchments will be made.
The ESE system will cover further the ecological, economic and
social conceptual models.
For future scenarios, it will build on and
integrate existing information. The so-called G and W+ climate
scenarios developed by the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute
of the Netherlands and the so-called IPPC SRES (special reports
on emission scenarios) A1, A2, B1, B2 socio-economic scenarios
offer a broad range, but may give all the information required.
Other sources, like particular scenario studies for WFD implementation
(VMM, BE) are more specific but are especially limited or very
close to business as usual scenarios. Other information (e.g.
from the Eururalis project) will also be evaluated.
The final decision on which scenarios will
be used during the modelling and analysis phase will be made
in close communication with the main stakeholders. This will
be discussed during the next stakeholders meeting.
By Jannette van Buuren, Scheldt-Delta (Netherlands)
SSA Team, e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SPICOSA NEWS is a newsletter produced by the
SPICOSA consortium for professionals dealing in one way or another
with coastal science, planning, and management. It is to be
published every four months. The next issue is due in June 2008.
This electronic newsletter may be forwarded
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An integrated project under the
EU´s 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) of the