A considerable amount of the European Union’s coast is currently eroding despite the development of a wide range of measures to protect shorelines from eroding and flooding. The prospect of further sea level rise due to climate change and the heritage of mismanagement in the past imply that coastal erosion will be a growing concern in the future. This motivated the European Parliament in 2001 to initiate a project on developing coastal erosion policy recommendations and requested the European Commission to launch the call for tenders “Service contract concerning coastal erosion – evaluation of the needs for action” (ENV.B.3/SER/2001/0030).
EUROSION is a project commissioned by the General Directorate Environment of the European Commission, which was won by a consortium led by the National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.
EUROSION is based on the assumption that coastal erosion is a phenomenon that can never be completely controlled but can be managed in an economically and ecologically sustainable fashion. The holistic view favoured by the consortium integrates:
- natural and human-induced causes of erosion (storms, seismic movements, reduced sediment supply from rivers due to dams, coastal defences themselves, etc.)
- different uses of the coast - including both its terrestrial and marine parts - and ranging from biodiversity and landscape conservation to tourism, industry and transport
- different levels of management - from local to European and regional seas
- river basin considerations
- present concerns and long term perspectives (e.g. climate change)
Through supporting the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Practitioners Network and facilitating access to relevant data and information, EUROSION offers a follow-up to the EU demonstration program on Integrated Coastal Zone Management - with an emphasis on pilot projects which focused on erosion management - and is consequently biased towards ICZM strategies.