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The Case of Greece

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Although Greece has extensive coastal area, the coastal zone remains undefined and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is not a priority.

Pressures for land development

Greece has the most extensive coastline among all Mediterranean countries and a large number of islands. In the last decade the coastal zones have faced continuous deterioration, as a result of increasing pressures for development, mainly for tourism and recreation (development of second houses). Urbanization of the coast has caused loss of agricultural land and open spaces, which could also serve as habitat areas and sites for recreation.

Fragmentation of institutional provisions

Coastal management as in most European countries is fragmented across a large number of authorities. The basic elements of coastal policies can be found in general spatial or sectoral policies concerning land use and urban development control, tourism, industry and agricultural development, while conservation relies mostly on basic environmental law.


Greek coast

Definition of the coastal zone

Greek legislation does not provide a legal definition of the coastal zone. It only defines a narrow band of the coastal zone, the seashore. Greek law is intended to regulate developments on the shore but does not secure the conservation of the natural shoreline, the protection of the functions of the coastal ecosystems or the restoration of the ecosystems. Furthermore it does not secure the public character of the coast, as in several cases use rights can be transferred to private agents, while it does not include any provisions to assure compatible uses.


Coastal Management and spatial planning

Coastal management is controlled through the basic law on land-use planning 2508/97. Of special interest was a report with the intention to launch and prepare (in 2002) a Special Framework of Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development for the Coastal Areas as foreseen by the Law 2742/99 for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development. The Special Framework suggested would address issues such as the delimitation of the boundaries of the coastal zone and the identification of the management zones. It would also reflect developments as expressed at the European level (e.g. “Towards a European Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy” and “Communication form the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on Integrated Coastal Zone Management: a Strategy for Europe”). Unfortunately the option to implement this specific Framework had not been promoted; instead the integration of the objectives related to coastal zone management into different sectoral policies had been identified as a more preferable option.


Opportunities for ICZM

The completion of major Spatial Plans for the Special Spatial Planning for Tourism is expected to positively influence coastal areas.

Furthermore some opportunities for boosting ICZM may arise from the adoption of the new Mediterranean Protocol on ICZM (currently under discussion) which is one of the main projects of the Mediterranean Action Plan.


The main author of this article is Mexa, Alexandra
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.