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EMECS Seminar: Challenges and Approaches towards World Coastal (ICM)

Kobe, Japan — On Thursday, July 1, 2010, the International EMECS Center held an EMECS International Seminar at Lasse Hall in Kobe, Japan. The theme of the seminar was "Challenges and approaches toward the implementation of The World Coastal Integrated Management (ICM)." The seminar featured presenta­tions on issues and efforts relating to integrated coastal management in Chesapeake Bay and the Mediterranean, as well as a discussion on how to achieve sustainable developm­ent from an economic standpoint. Some 90 government officials, researchers, company representatives and private citizens from throughout Japan attended the seminar.

The seminar began with a presentation by the seminar chair, Osamu Matsuda, Professor Emeritus of Hiroshima University (and Chairman of the Research Institute for the Seto Inland Sea). Professor Matsuda gave the background to and purpose of the seminar.

Integrated coastal management has become the mainstream approach to coastal management worldwide. However, Japan is considerably behind the rest of the world in this regard. Even in Japan, recently the approach has been to consider land and ocean in an integrated manner, but in practice there are a variety of major issues that need to be resolved. In 2007, the Basic Act on Ocean Policy was established and, based on this act, a Basic Plan on Ocean Policy was drawn up in 2008. However, this plan does not clearly state the specific approach that should be taken for integrated coastal management. Because the oceans are greatly affected by riv ­ers and land areas, there is a need for coastal management to consider land and coastal areas together. Traditionally, however, under the administration of the Japanese governm­ent, rivers, oceans, agricultural lands, forests and so on have each been managed by different national and local governm­ent systems. In the approach taken by the Basic Act on Ocean Policy, individual regions play a leading role and are finally able to manage nearby coastal zones in an integrated fashion. Therefore, even in Japan, integrated coastal managem­ent is beginning to be incorporated into local government policies in some cases. In view of this situation, Professor Matsuda said he was very much looking forward to hearing valuable guidance relating to a variety of efforts and issues in integrated coastal management from the ICM experts that were present at the seminar.

Professor Matsuda's opening remarks were followed by presentations by Dr. Robert Summers, Mr. Ivica TrumbicC and Dr. Peter Soderbaum. Dr. Summers talked about the achievements of the efforts aimed at integrated coastal management that have been conducted for many years in Chesapeake Bay. From a worldwide perspective, Chesapeake Bay is quite advanced in this regard, and can provide lessons for efforts in the Seto Inland Sea and other locations. Following on from that, Dr. Trumbic gave a comprehensive presentation on the issues relating to the Mediterranean Sea and the specific activities and efforts that are currently being conducted in this "enormous, diverse and complex region that faces significant problems." Finally, Dr. Soderbaum described the "big picture" from a social science perspective. He proposed a deep relationship between society conducting ICM and factors that extend to economic phenomena and human behavior.

Following these presentations, many comments and questions were received from those in attendance, and a lively discussion ensued. This was evidence of the high degree of interest in ICM on the part of seminar participants.