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Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the People’s Republic of China – An Assessment of Structural Impacts on Decision-making Processes


  • Maren A. Lau

    () (Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg)


Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) forms a generally accepted concept to ensure sustainable development in the coastal zone. The implementation of the ICZM framework as formulated, e.g. by the World Coast Conference, is often constrained by the political system within which it should be applied. This is the case in the People’s Republic of China. This study takes a political science perspective based on approaches inherent in neo-institutional and administrative theories. This way the relevant political structures are explained and the impacts that the transformation of the socio-economic system had on institutions are located. This is extended by the reflection of related political power distribution. This part of the analysis mainly contains existing knowledge on (integrated) CZM in China but evaluates it from a so far neglected point of view. The second part of the paper is taking the successful local ICZM approach of Xiamen and a proposed approach for Shanghai as an example to show that the adaptation of a working approach to other parts of the country is impossible without modifications to the organizational structures of decision-making and implementation. So far the literature emphasizes mostly modifications in content. An important reason for structural elements being comparably important is the choice of ICZM issues and the local power distribution. It furthermore shows that these are also the determining factors obstructing the upscaling of a local approach to the national level, a fact which constrains the formulation of national guidelines in China and leaves only the bottom-up alternative of introducing ICZM to China – a hard task that leaves a disproportional responsibility to the local governmental level.

Suggested Citation

  • Maren A. Lau, 2003. "Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the People’s Republic of China – An Assessment of Structural Impacts on Decision-making Processes," Working Papers FNU-28, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised May 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:spr:portec:v:3:y:2004:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-004-0033-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kerstin Ronneberger & Maria Berrittella & Francesco Bosello & Richard S.J. Tol, 2006. "Klum@Gtap: Introducing Biophysical Aspects of Land-Use Decisions Into a General Equilibrium Model A Coupling Experiment," Working Papers 2006.102, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. Kerstin Ronneberger & Uwe A. Schneider & Richard S.J. Tol, 2005. "Klum: A Simple Model Of Global Agricultural Land Use As A Coupling Tool Of Economy And Vegetation," Working Papers FNU-65, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised May 2005.
    4. Jacqueline M. Hamilton & David J. Maddison & Richard S.J. Tol, 2005. "Climate preferences and destination choice: a segmentation approach," Working Papers FNU-90, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2005.
    5. P. Michael Link & Richard S. J. Tol, 2004. "Possible economic impacts of a shutdown of the thermohaline circulation: an application of FUND," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 3(2), pages 99-114, September.
    6. Hamilton, Jacqueline M., 2007. "Coastal landscape and the hedonic price of accommodation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 594-602, May.
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    More about this item


    Integrated Coastal Zone Management; People’s Republic of China; Political Structure; Power Distribution; Jurisdictional Overlaps;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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