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Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

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PEMSEA releases Instructor’s Manual on Understanding Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)

PEMSEA is proud to announce the release of an Instructor’s Manual for its Model Course on Understanding Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), aimed at facilitating the exchange and transfer of knowledge and skills on ICM practices, tools, and methodologies!

Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) has proven itself an effective strategy for ensuring sustainable development in coastal areas, supporting local communities while arresting – and even reversing – the decline of the marine and coastal environments. ICM development and implementation addresses the many dimensions of sustainable development, including policy, economy, scientific, technical, and social challenges. Scaling up ICM is increasingly being seen as necessary for effective and positive coastal and ocean management.

PEMSEA has a goal of covering 25% of the coastline of the Seas of East Asia with ICM programs by 2021. Achieving this requires a significant number of ICM practitioners and experts. To address this need, PEMSEA promotes ICM trainings guided by its on-the-ground experience, developing capacity at local, national, and regional levels. So far PEMSEA trainings have benefited over 5,000 people.

This experience led to the development of ICM Training Model courses. Primarily aimed at assisting participating countries in their national ICM scaling up programs, these courses facilitate the exchange and transfer of knowledge and skills on ICM practices, tools, and methodologies.

About the course

This Model Course on Understanding Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) introduces and discusses the philosophy, concept, guidelines, framework, and processes of ICM for the sustainable development of coastal areas. Its content is rooted in a holistic, systems approach, as well as in adaptive learning and ecosystem-based management.

The course is designed to illustrate the process of the development and adoption of a long-term vision by concerned stakeholders and the implementation of short-term actions directed toward short-term targets through a stepwise, cyclical, and incremental approach. It provides a guide to a quick assessment of the requirements for developing an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) program through giving an orientation on the State of the Coasts Reporting tool and the ICM Code of Good Practice.

The learning from this course is widely useful, applicable to local government planners, government technical staff, coastal and marine management officers, professionals from disciplines related to coastal and ocean management, environmentalists, NGOs, and students. The course aims for participants to gain an enhanced understanding of ICM, allowing them to envision and appreciate its potential, and understand how they and their sectors can fit into the multidisciplinary and multisectoral needs of ICM.


Designed to be completed in a continuous and intensive five-day session, the course includes lectures, discussions, learning and workshop activities, video showing, case/research analysis, and a field/site visit. This content is divided into five units, which are themselves made up of smaller modules. The units are as follows:

Unit I: Concept, Principles and Elements of Integrated Coastal Management

Unit I is an overview of the importance and value of coastal areas, with focus in East Asia, and the urgency of adopting an integrated management approach over the traditional sectoral approaches to effectively and efficiently sustain the development of these areas. It introduces the concept and importance of ICM, as well as the principles behind it and the implementation framework it produces.

Unit II: ICM Program Development and Implementation

Unit II deals with the practical implementation of an ICM program. This covers the whole period of an ICM program, from conception and preparation, to initiating and developing, all the way to refining. An ICM program involves a large number of diverse projects, each with a specific objective and different timeframe. The management of these projects requires effective coordination and integration to facilitate a logical, sequential, and synergistic strengthening of the program as it develops. The process of ICM program development and implementation is operationalized through a six-stage cycle, referred to as the ICM cycle.

Unit III: The ICM Code

Unit III discusses the following: (1) ICM Code based on the Framework for the Sustainable Development of Coastal Areas (SDCA) through ICM Implementation; and (2) Indicators of good practice that may serve as a guide for ICM practitioners in developing and enhancing their ICM programs. Exercises on conducting an initial assessment of an ICM program and/or related environmental programs give the participants an opportunity for hands-on analysis of the status, strengths, and weaknesses of existing programs. This will help participants plan and develop a comprehensive ICM program.

Unit IV: Field Visit

Unit IV allows the participants to observe the practical application of the concepts, principles, and framework discussed in the previous modules. It provides the participants an opportunity to interact with and gain firsthand information from ICM program implementers and to observe the ground-level processes and activities involved in the implementation of ICM governance systems and sustainable development programs.

Unit V: Workshop on the Preparation for ICM Program Development

Unit V consists of workshops to prepare the participants for initiating the ICM Program Development by helping them to identify the next steps needed in preparing such a program in their area of interest. A workshop on establishing the management mechanism for an ICM program will give the participants the opportunity to apply their learning from previous modules and identify the gaps and challenges in establishing said management mechanism. Another workshop on establishing the scope and management boundary of and developing the road map for an ICM program will enable the participants to apply new learning, review ICM activities undertaken, and appreciate the need to systematize the development and implementation of ICM program activities.

After finishing this course, we expect participants to emerge being able to:

  • Understand and appreciate the basic concepts and principles of ICM;
  • Explain the framework and processes involved in developing and implementing ICM at the local and national levels;
  • Be familiar with the tools needed to assess the social, economic, and environmental status of the coastal areas in their locale, as well as the use and management of these areas;
  • Identify the strategies and approaches to initiating or strengthening an ICM program.

The manual

This course manual will provide teachers and trainers the tools and understanding to pass on ICM knowledge to others. It includes a detailed schedule for the course, with guidance for preparation before the course, for each activity within the course, and for assessing the outcome of the course. Each module has its own clear learning objectives, which ensuring there is short-term guidance very step of the way.

Materials provided alongside these units include detailed case studies from previous ICM implementation programs PEMSEA has been involved in. These case studies look at a variety of different aspects of ICM management, such as institutionalization, replication, management mechanisms, private sector involvement, and budgeting. Together, they provide firm examples to which the knowledge of the course can be related to, and demonstrate exactly how this knowledge can be applied.

We hope this manual will serve as a common tool to bolster ICM throughout the coasts of the Seas of East Asia, providing a holistic and thorough framework through which ICM projects can be planned, implemented, developed, assessed, and refined. ICM provides the means to work towards a sustainable society, supporting the health and livelihoods of human societies and bolstering the safety and longevity of the coastal and marine ecosystems that exist alongside them.

For more information

(Source: SDG Update Newsletter)