Measuring Coastal Sustainability: The Sustain Policy Tool

Project Implementation Period: 
October 2010 - October 2012
Specific Funding Programme: 

INTERREG IVC programme (Innovation & Environment Regions of Europe Sharing Solutions): European Regional Development Fund


1,8 Mio EUR

About the Project: 

SUSTAIN has been a 3-year project addressing environment and risk prevention (Priority 2 of the programme) and the sub-theme water mangement. The project created a fully implementable policy tool to support coastal authorities and communities in their sustainable management. This tool is applicable to all 22 coastal states of the European Union. It is based on a set of easily measurable sustainability indicators that were developed and assessed during the lifetime of the project to enable authorities to measure effectively the sustainability of our coasts.

SUSTAIN Indicator Set

The indicators have been chosen to cover distinct issues within the four recognisable pillars of sustainabilty, i.e. Governance, Economics, Environmental Quality and Social Well-being. Two types of indicators are available: core and optional indicators to reflect locally specific situations which can vary throughout Europe's regions. A checklist approach has been introduced in respect of the Governance pillar, rather than indicators which are difficult to measure.  

DeCyDe-for-Sustainability tool

Data for the relevant indicators is fed into a policy tool, the DeCyDe-for-Sustainability. This is a user-friendly, spreadsheet tool that allows the core indicators to be scored numerically, to suppport the self-assessment and to determine, whether an authority is moving towards a sustainable management. The tool was implemented through participatory workshops with discussion about the issues, indicators and data. 

To sum up, the SUSTAIN Indicator Set and the DeCyDe-for-Sustainabiltiy tool constitute a use-friendly, rapid implementation, self-assessment tool which respects the time constraints of policy-makers and other stakeholders.

SUSTAIN publications

Apart a DeCyDe-for-Sustainabilty brochure, several reports and guides have been published:

Workshops and inter-regional exchange visits

Six workshops explored and discussed sustainabilitiy topics, criteria and methodologies for measurement of indicators (see Figure 1 and website): 

Also six inter-regional exchange visits enabled partners to exchange experiences on sustainability issues including the transfer of best practices (see Figure 2 and website):

PROJECT Partners

The project partners represent the North Atlantic seaboard, the South Atlantic seaboard, the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea.

1. Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) - Netherlands

2. Marine Observatory - France

3. Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council - UK

4. The Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW) - Germany

5. Samothraki Municipality - Greece

6. Tagus River Basin District Administration - Portugal

7. Down District Council - UK/Northern Ireland

8. Canary Institute of Marine Science - Canary Islands Regional Govt. - Spain/Canaries

9. Teramo Province - Italy

10. Regional Development Centre Koper - Slovenia

11. University College Cork (UCC) - Ireland

12. Kouklia Community Council (2010-2011) - Cyprus