Working together: collaborative decision making for sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)

Christina Gillgren*, Josianne Gatt Støttrup, Johanna Schumacher, Grete E. Dinesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Community involvement and genuine engagement with citizens is an important, integral element of the Systems Approach Framework (SAF). The SAF provides a structure for an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) process using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates environmental, social and economic viability and well-being. An assessment of the SAF and its application with respect to citizen engagement and participation uncovered two main issues: (i) the implications of engaging stakeholders have not been fully understood and are still not an integral part of the SAF ICMprocess; and (ii) the need to include validation. This article sets out to address these issues. It explores the paradigm shift in government-citizen interaction that moves from a management "outputs"-based approach to a more collaborative partnership approach focused on "outcomes". This shift necessitates a more robust public participation framework that is timely, iterative and genuinely inclusive. Without community and stakeholder "buy-in" it is difficult to achieve the behavioural change necessary to achieve sustainability. Engagement considerations should be addressed from the outset and throughout the process to the "Implementation" and "Monitoring and Evaluation" steps. Furthermore, this paper identifies the need to move beyond these steps to include validation in the SAF, especially when dealing with highly complex issues. In this way, citizens take ownership of the issue(s), participate in identifying solutions and strive to maintain sustainable development. This paper provides the necessary input to how the SAF can integrate credible public participation for outcomes that are more successful and lead to greater sustainability and improved social capital
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Coastal Conservation
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)959-968
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Systems Approach Framework (SAF)
  • Science-policy integration
  • Public participation
  • Stakeholder interactions
  • Collaborative decision-making
  • Validation


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