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Last update: Nov. 2004
 

ELOISE description

ELOISE is a thematic network instigated by the Commission of the European Union where coastal zone research is combined to focus on the important questions of how the land-ocean interaction operates, and of how this is influenced by human activities. By nurturing a coherent European coastal zone research network of high scientific value and of direct relevance to society, it is intended that ELOISE can directly contribute to activities in the fields of integrated coastal zone management and spatial planning.

Background

The coastal zone is a major component in global biogeochemical budgets and in both biotic and mineral resources despite representing only around 15% of the surface and less than 0.5% of the volume of the world ocean. Simultaneously more than 60% of the worlds population lives within 60km of the sea, and the transfer of matter from the continent to the coastal ocean is changing rapidly as a consequence of human activity. Thus, a profound knowledge of the functioning of the coastal zone is vital to our understanding of how the human population is affecting the planet. Without an adequate understanding of the nature, scale and extent of influences, future management and sustainable use of coastal areas and resources will be extremely difficult. The variety of coastal types found in Europe offers unique opportunities for comparative studies of the interactions of natural and anthropogenic factors.

The evolution of ELOISE as a response to these matters has come through various convergent initiatives at national, European and global levels. The recognition codified in the Treaty of Maastricht that Member States of the European Union had a joint responsibility to coordinate research, along with the growth during Commission environmental research programmes of a trans-national coastal science research community established the groundwork. Foundations were thus in place when the European Council specified that Community research should inter alia contribute to international Global Change research. In response, and in recognition that short-term initiatives were often ineffective in addressing longer-term problems, the Commission established two Thematic Networks, one of which was ELOISE.

Parallel to this the Council of Ministers had laid two requests which added further impetus. The first was a request for a perspective for European spatial development for the year 2020, including land use, pressures and development in the coastal zone. The second was a request for a Strategy on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).

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