Analysis of approaches for evaluating the success of coastal management in Europe
The study draws on experience in coastal management globally, and in particular in Europe where the recent demonstration programme in integrated coastal zone management has promoted coastal management initiatives at the local scale, to examine the applicability of different coastal management evaluation techniques for assessing the role of coastal management as a tool for achieving sustainable development; and for determining the success of European pilot projects in coastal management; identify and assess factors which influence “successful” ICM in the European context; and determine whether international guidance relating to good practice in coastal management is relevant in the European context.
An analysis of different approaches to evaluation showed that these are based on largely untested assumptions of validity - in particular of internal validity (causality) in the case of outcome based evaluation and of external validity (generalisability) in the case of process evaluations. In view of their early stage of development and differing goals but common institutional challenges, a process based evaluation is most appropriate for the demonstration project.
In this study, a triangulation approach is used to test the assumption of external validity which underlies process based evaluations in ICM. Using independently derived results from the European demonstration projects, the study examines the applicability in the European context of international experience relating to good practice in co-ordination and in ensuring viability of ICM projects.
The results are particularly relevant in the light of new European legislation which is designed to move coastal management in Europe from the current project-by-project approach to a more strategic approach by the promotion of a better enabling environment at national level.