Addressing the tangled web of governance mechanisms for land-sea interactions: Assessing implementation challenges across scales
The coastal zone is a locus where many activities of society intersect with natural processes that shape the coastal zone and the resource base available. In the EU, regional legislation exists to specifically manage the coastal and inshore marine space and resources (e.g. Marine Strategy Framework Directive) whilst policy areas such as land-use planning, property rights and key aspects of consenting processes remain under the authority of Member States. Interactions exist between these different policy drivers at multiple scales, but the overall landscape is characterised by tensions or weak links between drivers originating from the EU and national priorities leading to a complex, non-linear and confusing policyscape. This paper reviews how legislation, and implementing organisations, in Ireland have evolved in the context of EU environmental perspectives that have progressed from conservation-centric to addressing modern day challenges such as regional development for Blue Growth and aspirations of international agreements (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Agenda 2030). Through an analysis employing principles of Evolutionary Governance Theory, the way different governance institutions have co-evolved to understand how dependencies between current actors and objectives influence each other is examined. The study explores appropriate governance approaches to land-sea interactions utilising examples from implementation of the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in selected EU Member States, and how they take land-sea interactions into account. This is contrasted with examples from other EU legislation and policies such as those relating to river basin management, the marine environment, and integrated coastal management. The paper concludes with tentative recommendations on how policies addressing land-sea interactions need to evolve to better deliver on global policy drivers.