MESSINA stands for "Managing European Shoreline and Sharing Information on Near-shore Areas". This initiative has been proposed by a number of national, regional and local institutions to the INTERREG III C West zone programme of the European Union. This initiative was approved on December 15, 2003.



Coastal resources provide a broad variety of recreational and economic opportunities for the European citizens. These opportunities rely on maintenance of the environmental quality and character of beaches and coastal systems. With the continuing migration of citizens to the coastal zone, however, the character and quality of the shoreline is changing. High population density continually affects the natural processes governing stability and change along the shoreline. This situation has increased exposure of the public and property to risks associated with coastal storms and erosion.

In spite of major efforts invested in Europe since the mid-1980's, efforts which have contributed to assess and document the exposure of European coasts to coastal hazards, and accumulate knowledge on coastal systems, significant gaps still remain, and speak out for increased partnership among European coastal authorities. Below is an overview of such major coastal management gaps in Europe:

Gap 1: scientific knowledge relevant for coastline management and mitigation of coastal hazards is fragmented and poorly accessible to local managers;

Gap 2: coastal defence solutions implemented at the local do not adopt a broad geographic and thematic scope and generally shift coastal problems to other locations or other socio-economic sectors;

Gap 3: social acceptability of coastal defence solutions is not guaranteed due to poor public participation;

Gap 4: coastal economics - including proper methodologies to assess the economical value of beach use, coastal tourism, and coastal heritage - is not systematically used to balance the cost and the benefits of coastal erosion management measures; and

Gap 5: current policies does not anticipate the requirements/consequences of future European directives or policies, mainly the Water Framework Directive, the Habitat Directive, and the European Transport Policy.

The MESSINA initiative intends to partly bridge these gaps by breaking "knowledge isolation" of some local authorities and institutions in Europe, by raising their managerial and technical capabilities through a mutualisation of the experience accumulated by each of them, and by upgrading existing shoreline management guidelines through an integration of the latest techniques and methods available in Europe.


The long term objective of MESSINA is to help bridge these gaps by breaking "knowledge isolation" of some local authorities and institutions in Europe and by raising their managerial and technical capabilities through a mutualisation of the experience accumulated by each of them. More operationally, MESSINA is expected to:

Objective 1: Provide a state of the art of shoreline monitoring and modelling techniques supporting coastline management policies, with a particular attention paid to innovative techniques;

Objective 2: Review concrete examples of economic analysis methodologies applied to shoreline management policy inside and outside Europe;

Objective 3: Embed lessons learnt from existing coastal defence engineering practices - including hard and soft engineering - into coastal planning processes at the local level;

Objective 4: Assess information requirements to better integrate coastal erosion processes into spatial planning policies;

Objective 5: Design and implement a pilot GIS-based information system dedicated to shoreline management planning at the local level, to be experimented by the project partners

Ultimately, MESSINA aims at maximizing the benefits of future investments in coastline management and raise the public awareness about the need to manage the coastline in a sound and sustainable way.

Practical Guides

MESSINA is proposing a "Coastal Manager Toolkit" made of four Practical Guides entitled:

  Monitoring and modelling the shoreline
  Valuing the shoreline
  Engineering the shoreline
  Integrating the shoreline into spatial planning processes
a demo CDROM featuring a GIS-based prototype of shoreline management planning,



  a series of 4 workshops in line with the topic of each practical guide, for the discussion and validation of the outputs by coastal authorities



a web site giving a full online access to the project outputs:  

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