What we do

Water Lilies endemic to the BMZ project region

Water Lilies endemic to the BMZ project region, .Naca, southern Thailand

Photo: Minna Epps, IUCN

The process: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and an ecosystem approach towards rehabilitation and conservation

To achieve these objectives, the BMZ project uses Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and an ecosystem approach towards rehabilitation and conservation. This is a continuous and dynamic process that unites government and the community, science and management, sectoral and public interests in preparing and implementing an integrated plan for the protection and development of coastal ecosystems and resources.

In this project, the process of achieving these objectives was considered as important as the achieving them.

Several steps are critical in this process: 

  •  Defining ecosystem boundary and characteristics: conservation of ecosystem structures, processes and interactions;
  • Consideration for the range of frequently conflicting objectives;
  • Stakeholder participation, consensus building, and setting management objectives (short, medium and long-term);
  • Consideration for equity in distribution of benefits;
  • Information availability for management decision making; and
  • Use of a pragmatic approach: applying adaptive management and using the precautionary principle.

The process of integrated coastal zone management

The process adopted in Sri Lanka for the BMZ project

Initially, the BMZ team focused on two village sites on either side of the Puttalam lagoon but realised that to tackle issues at an ecosystem scale, a lagoon-wide approach was necessary to support long-term conservation.

The IUCN team observed that stakeholders’ meetings were held sectorally and geographically separate.. Soon, the team realised that a sectoral and village-specific focus would lead to piecemeal interventions and that an approach was needed that considered the lagoon as a whole.

Initially, IUCN Sri Lanka set about facilitating the formation of a District Level Coordination Committee (DLCC) comprising representatives from several community-based organisations, as well as officers from different government agencies. In doing so, they have been successful is creating awareness that the Puttalam lagoon needs conservation and management in its entirety.

IUCN is using its strength of facilitation at the district level to consolidate this cross-sectoral communication to develop conservation and management strategies for the Puttalam lagoon.  The goverment recognises IUCN's advisory role, and this will be pivotal for interventions for decision-making concerning national strategic plans for the Puttalam area..

The process adopted in Thailand for the BMZ project

The method adopted by the Thailand programme in implementing the BMZ project demonstrated an ecosystem approach. The selected site stretches from reef to ridge and includes a wide range of inter connected habitats. The approach uses 12 principles from the Convention on Biodiversity, most importantly that the approach should involve all relevant stakeholders of society and scientific disciplines. Thus, it engaged government agencies and including technical experts, and worked with nine tambons (district subdivsions) in four districts, including 32 villages, 1,800 households and a population of 6,500 people.

The link below gives a detailed account of this process.


Demonstrating ecosystem rehabilitation and management using an reef to ridge approach: Field experience from the North Andaman Coast
Project documents
Photo gallery
IUCN MFF Initiative