Freshwater - Coast a Missing Link in Water Management

Session at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto March 2003

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Presentations from the Session:

The Coastal Zone in IWRM

Torkil Jønch-Clausen

Chair of GWP Technical Committee

Director, DHI Water & Environment

Principles for Integrating ICM with Watershed Management

Stephen B. Olsen

Coastal Resources Center

University of Rhode Island

Use of cases in developing guidance for integrated freshwater and coastal management

Niels Ipsen

Head, UCC-Water

ICARM - Guiding principles

Martin Adriaanse

Programme Officer, UNEP/GPA


Real progress has been made in Integrated River Basin Management and Integrated Coastal Zone Management as separate management approaches in the last few decades.  However, the link between both is weak. Hardly anyone denies the importance of forging closer linkages, but in very few cases is this brought into practice


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UNEP/GPA, UCC-Water and the University of Delaware organised a session on ICARM under the theme Water, Nature and Environment

Under the title Freshwater – Coast a Missing Link in Water Management a session on integrated coastal area and river basin management was held 18 March 2003 in the 3rd World Water Forum conference centre in Kyoto, Japan.

The session explored the key principles of the management link and the practical constraints to move to a fully integrated approach.  The session looked into global experiences on integrated freshwater and coastal zone management as well as case stories and principles for making the link a reality.

The session was part of the work programme of the Freshwater-Coast Partnership (FreshCo), a collaborative programme of UNEP and partner organisations which was launched under the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg August 2002.

The sessions included two key note speakers: Torkil Jønch-Clausen on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) appproaching the coast and Steven Olsen on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) approaching the freshwater.

Other presentations concerned the outcome of the preparatory workshop in Thailand February 2003, convened by UNEP/GPA and UCC-Water under the umbrella of the FreshCo Partnership and a presentation of key principles for implementation of Integrated Coastal Area and River Basin Management (ICARM).

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion. The panel included: Biliana Cecin-Sain, University of Delaware (Chairman), Torkil Jønch-Clausen, GWP, Steven Olsen, Rhode Island University, Niels Ipsen, UCC-Water, Martin Adriaanse, UNEP/GPA, Takehiro Nakamura, UNEP/GEF, and Apichart Anukularmphai, GWP/SEATAC.

The main outcome of the session was a consensus on the importance of linking IWRM and ICM to solve the problems related to the interphase between the freshwater systems and the coastal areas and that there is substantial need to identify, structure, and disseminate cases and best practises on ICARM to guide Governments in establishing this important link. Thus, the meeting encouraged to continue the efforts which have led to the creation of the FreshCo Partnership.

The discussions at the session showed that the efforts within the field of ICARM are generally supported by both the freshwater and the coastal zone management societies and that both parties are committed to participate actively.

The main recommendation was an urge to the Governments and the development partners to take into account the freshwater/coast link to improve the planning and management and the urge to freshwater and coastal management institutions to improve collaboration.

The commitments given at the session included commitment from UNEP to continue the work on ICARM i.a. through support the FreshCo partnership and commitment from GWP to collaborate on dissemination of best practised i.a. through the GWP ToolBox

Contact: Niels Ipsen, UCC-Water Agern Allé 5 2970 Hørsholm Denmark. Tel: +45 4516 9518, Fax: +45 4516 9292, E-mail: or Martin Adriaanse, UNEP/GPA P.O. Box 16227 2500 BE, The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 70 311 4466, Fax: +31 70 345 6648, E-mail: