The coastal areas of the North Sea Region have been under severe pressure during recent decades. Growing population in the coastal zone and the associated conversion of nature and agriculture land into built-up areas have increased the pressure on the coastal zones around the world. The consequences of this development were addressed and recognised at the World Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where the concept of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) was given particular focus through Agenda 21. Global warming will enhance the pressure – primarily due to sea level rise.

The European answer to these challenges was to generate two European Commission policy documents on Integrated Coastal Zone Management. Additionally, the European Expert Group on ICZM developed a set of 27 indicators to monitor the sustainable development of the coastal zone. The BLAST project aims to improve Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Planning by harmonising terrestrial and marine geographical data and by developing planning and visualisation tools in the context of climate change.

With the aim of supporting the decision-making process in ICZM, BLAST has developed a Coastal Indicator System (COINS) based on the 27 sustainability indicators mentioned above.

The system concentrates on the indicators particularly related to the impact of climate change. This includes controlling the development of the undeveloped coast, protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the coastal zone, assessing the threat to coastal zones posed by climate change, and viewing the coastal zone as a resource for renewable energy.

COINS is web-based, built on open source components and can be used free of charge from most web browsers under different operation systems. View the prototype COINS system here:


Copyright 2010, BLAST - Bringing Land and Sea Together.