The discussion on global change issues in coastal zones and integrated coastal management focuses increasingly on the interplay between river catchments and the coastal sea. Coastal zone processes and health are reviewed much more as a systemic, i.e. receiving, part of the whole water continuum. This reflects in an increasing number of targeted programs and key actions such as the new European 5th Framework Program, as well as UNESCO, UNEP and GEF based/supported initiatives. The International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) responds through concentrating considerable effort on the human dimension of global change issues taking the whole water cascade as a scale. Parts of these issues are addressed in the “water group” initiative of IGBP, to which LOICZ since 1998 continues to contribute on various levels like the Sediment/Run Off Group (J. Syvitski) and the BASINS core project (Wim Salomons, H. Kremer).