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The importance of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in coastal cities: The case study of Cancun, Mexico

Basurto Cisneros, Carlos (2016) The importance of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in coastal cities: The case study of Cancun, Mexico.

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Abstract:Urban development can come with negative impacts, even if it aims at improving people´s quality of life. These impacts are not thought of in a beginning, because first the tendency is to focus upon the economic benefits. Even though if these mentioned impacts are not seen in the first year, sooner or later, they become apparent, affecting the people that now reside in the new urban areas. This is what happened in the coastal zone of Cancun. In the first period after it was developed it represented a luxurious and exotic destination, nowadays it faces a severe coastal zone erosion problem. This problem is especially visible with regard to beach-erosion. The increase of tourism has gradually led to the building of additional new hotels along the coast of Cancun mainly in the coastal island where all the hotels are found. These hotels have been built in places were beach dunes or mangroves used to be, leaving them vulnerable to coastal erosion. In addition, this area is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes. Gilbert and Wilma, two of the most devastating hurricanes in this area, uncovered the vulnerability of the coast to extreme whether events, and by this, the absence of effective coastal management became obvious. Some other factors such as wave movement also increase the vulnerability that these coasts have towards beach erosion. Mexico issued some laws to manage the coastal resources while aiming as well at economic revenues as sustainable use of these resources. However, these laws contain ambiguous definitions of what the problem is, allowing the responsible governmental enforcers, to apply the laws in a way that suits their interests better or best. Even if the balance between economic revenues and integrity of natural systems becomes unbalanced. The fact that Mexico is a federal country also creates problems while applying and implementing coastal management laws. This is caused because political affiliation conflicts commonly arise in the country, at national, state and municipal level even though if the rest of the involved stakeholders may reach agreements to solve a coastal problem. ICZM is in this perspective an interesting concept whose main goal is to exploit in a sustainable way the resources found in the coast. It requires certain guidelines to be followed for its proper implementation. Mexican laws and policies can be adjusted in order to follow these guidelines and hence, improve the coastal erosion problem that the country faces. A total of 13 national laws and 4 state and municipal policies were analysed for this project before a conclusion was reached, however, more laws involving the coast should be analysed in order to obtain a more complete assessment on what the problem is now regarding this laws, and how it can be properly managed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:43 environmental science
Programme:Environmental and Energy Management MSc (69319)
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