The Commission launched on 12 March 2013 a new joint initiative on integrated coastal management and maritime spatial planning.
The proposal, which takes the form of a draft Directive, aims to establish a framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management in EU Member States with a view to promote the sustainable growth of maritime and coastal activities and the sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.
The proposal will require Member States to map human activities at sea and identify their most effective future spatial development in maritime spatial plans and to coordinate relevant policies affecting coastal areas in integrated coastal management strategies. To ensure the sustainability and environmental health of the various uses in marine and coastal areas, maritime spatial planning and coastal management will have to employ an approach that respects the limits of ecosystems. This approach includes the assessment of plans and strategies in accordance with the provisions of Directive 2001/42/EC on strategic environmental assessment and will ensure that economic activities factor in the protection of natural resources at an early stage as well as risks related to climate change and natural hazards to which coastal areas are extremely vulnerable. This has economic benefits as natural resources are often an essential basis for activities such as fishing and aquaculture, which rely on clean seas.