Why & How


CO-EVOLVE encourages the emergence of policies and initiatives to promote the development of sustainable and responsible coastal and maritime tourism by applying the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) that take into account all the main challenges related to the sustainability of tourism (e.g. seasonality of demand, transport, sustainable use of resources, community prosperity and quality of life, preservation of natural and cultural). 

This approach contributes to the practical implementation of policy instruments and relevant initiatives at different scales (International, EU, National and Regional) such as ICZM Protocol of Barcelona Convention, Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), EU Communication on Coastal and Maritime Tourism COM(2014)86 final, EU Directives (Water Framework Directive, Maritime Strategy Framework Directive, Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, Birds and Habitats Directives and Floods Directive), Horizon 2020, the BLUEMED Initiative on Blue Growth in the Mediterranean, EUSAIR Action Plan, Bologna Charter Joint Action Plan, as well as the emerging Sea basin and Macroregional strategies/initiatives for the Med area, with particular reference to the discussion on the West Med Initiative and the works of the Union for the Mediterranean on Blue Economy. 


CO-EVOLVE aims at analysing and promoting the co-evolution of human activities and natural systems in touristic coastal areas, facing effects due to climate change and allowing sustainable development of touristic activities, in coexistence and synergy with other uses of the coastal and marine space and resources, based on the principles of ICZM/MSP.

Such territorial challenges tackled by the project are common to all MED coastal areas and basins and are fully coherent with Specific Objective 3.1: “to enhance the development of policies and increase the coordination of strategies between territories at interregional and transnational level regarding the development of a sustainable and responsible coastal and maritime tourism, in line with the ICZM and MSP principles, through cooperation and joint planning”.

The present policy landscape (e.g. Directive 2014/89/EU, ICZM Protocol, COM(2014)86final) pushes in this direction, and results and best practices are already available, but still the full and concrete application of ICZM/MSP principles to touristic coastal areas is perceived as a key enabling factor to work on for their sustainable development. In fact, sectoral and not ecosystem-based approaches risk to produce unsustainable results in the medium-long term.

Through this approach all key challenges for sustainability of EU tourism (e.g. seasonality of demand, transport, minimizing resource use, community prosperity and quality of life, conserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage) are faced and taken into account at MED scale and within more specific action plans on representative pilot areas.

In particular, the project addresses all the needs selected for S.O. 3.1: High cultural and environmental resources threatened by human activities; High pressure of tourism activities and urbanization; Increased pressure on natural resources due to the combination of human activities and environmental changes (especially climate change); Increased pressure on water resources.