The ecosystem approach lays out a series of principles to guide management towards long-term sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems. With this guide on Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), UNEP seeks to assist countries and communities to take steps towards making marine and coastal ecosystem-based management operational – from strategic planning to on-site implementation. It has three main sections:
1) Making the case for EBM – Why and how is change necessary?
2) Examining the core elements of EBM
3) Moving towards EBM: Visioning – Planning – Implementation
The Guide outlines operational considerations in an accessible language, drawing upon practical experiences and lessons across the globe – from tropical coastlines to temperate estuaries and polar ocean ecosystems. An important message is that this is an incremental process and there are different paths toward EBM. Cross boundary considerations and working with neighbours and even countries far away will be an essential component.
The target audience of the Guide includes planners and decision-makers in local, national and regional governments and communities across a broad spectrum of interests and uses. The Guide is not a technical manual or textbook, rather it is an introduction to EBM principles and ‘thinking’, and provides an overview of core elements and pathways to getting started.