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Glossary

  • Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations Governments System, and Major Groups in every area in which humans impact the environment. Agenda 21
  • Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region
    An agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea region is the Baltic 21. A regional multi-stakeholder process for sustainable development initiated in 1996 by the Prime Ministers from the eleven member states of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). Baltic 21 members are the CBSS member states, the European Commission, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, international sub regional, city and business community networks and other international non-governmental networks.
  • Alpine Convention
    Convention on the Protection of the Alps (1991).
  • Barcelona convention
    Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (1976).
  • Beach restoration
    Beach restoration can involve the use of various techniques to restore, stabilize, enhance and maintain a beach. These techniques may include sand nourishment, groynes and sea walls etc.
  • Biodiversity
    The generic variety of faunal and floral species living in the biosphere. Biological diversity is critical for maintaining the biosphere’s life-sustaining systems.
  • Biosphere reserve
    A biosphere reserve is a unique concept which includes one or more protected areas and surrounding lands that are managed to combine both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Each biosphere reserve conserves examples of characteristic ecosystems of one of the world's natural regions, managed for their protection and study.
  • Bloom algae: Throughout the world, large areas of our coastal waters are becoming so polluted that they lack sufficient oxygen, one of the basic building blocks of life. This condition is called hypoxia. Although this is sometimes a natural condition, the increased area of water affected, extended length of each episode and higher frequency in recent decades are due to human activities. Overenrichment of estuaries and coastal waters with nutrients, especially nitrogen, stimulates outbreaks or "blooms" of algae that consume vital oxygen from the water when they decompose. The effects of hypoxia include fish kills and shellfish bed losses. These losses can have significant detrimental effects on the ecological and economic health and stability of coastal regions.
  • Codes of conduct
    Recommended, voluntary codes of behavior. Often best practice.
  • Carrying capacity
    Refers to the size of a population that can live indefinitely in an environment without doing that environment any harm. This applies to plants, animals and people. If the carrying capacity of the environment is exceeded, organisms die and the environment may be permanently destroyed.
  • Current account balance
    The amount of a resource that is currently available for use.
  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
    Environmental assessment is a procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before the decisions are made. The process involves an analysis of the likely effects on the environment, recording those effects in a report, undertaking a public consultation exercise on the report, taking into account the comments and the report when making the final decision and informing the public about that decision afterwards. In principle, environmental assessment can be undertaken for individual projects such as building a dam, motorway, airport or factory (‘Environmental Impact Assessment’) or for plans, programmes and policies (‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’). This website provides information on the European Community’s laws on Environmental Impact Assessment of projects and the Environmental Assessment of certain plans and programmes together with other related information.
  • Ecotax
    One of the main aims of a green economy would be to make prices reflect true costs. At present, prices place an artificially low value on non-renewable natural resources and completely ignore external costs - to the air, the water, the soil, to future generations and to workers health. The whole economic system is geared to keeping these costs ‘externalized’. A green economy would adjust prices to include real costs and would institute a system known as Ecotax to drive this forward.
  • Eco-labeling scheme
    The voluntary eco-label established in 1992, is intended to promote products with a reduced environmental impact and provide consumers with environmental information.
  • Ecoregions
    In general terms, ecological regions can be mapped according to associations of biotic and environmental factors that directly affect or indirectly express energy, moisture, and nutrient gradients, which regulate the structure and function of ecosystems. These factors include climate, physiography, water, soils, air, hydrology, and potential natural communities.
  • European Blue Flag
    The Foundation for Environmental Education (FREE) in Europe is the organisation behind the European Blue Flag award. It has become a reliable source of information on clean, safe and enjoyable environments for coastal recreation and has made a significant contribution to public awareness of environmental issues.
  • International tourist receipt
    The annual amount of profit made by a country from tourism.
  • Earth Council
    The Earth Council is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that was founded in September 1992 to promote and advance the implementation of the Earth Summit Agreements. It is led by a body of 18 Members, drawn from the world's political, business, scientific and non-governmental communities. The mission of he Earth Council is to support and empower people in building a more, secure, equitable and sustainable future.
  • Ecosystems
    The linked system of interactive relationships among organisms and between organisms and their physical environment in a given geographical unit.
  • Environmentally friendly material
    Materials that do not harm the environment when produced.
  • Ethical consumerism
    Being an ethical consumer means buying products which were ethically produced and/or which are not harmful to the environment and society. This can be as simple as buying free-range eggs or as complex as boycotting goods produced by child labour. Products which fall into the ethical category include organic produce, fair trade goods, energy-efficient light bulbs, electricity from renewable energy, recycled paper and wood products with Forest Stewardship Council approval.
  • GNP
    Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all the goods and services produced in an economy, plus the value of the goods and services imported, less the goods and services exported.
  • Green Globe
    Green Globe is the global bench marking, certification and improvement system for sustainable travel and tourism. It is based on agenda 21 and its principles for sustainable development endorsed by 182 heads of state at the United Nations Rio de Jeneiro Earth Summit. It provides companies, communities and consumers with a path to sustainable travel and tourism.

  • Habitat fragmentation
    When native vegetation is cleared for agriculture, habitats, which were once continuous, becomes divided into separate fragments. After intensive clearing, the separate fragments tend to be very small islands, isolated from each other by crop, land and pasture. Small fragments of habitat can only support small populations of fauna and these are more vulnerable to extinction. Fragments of habitat that are separated from each other are unlikely to be re-colonised.
  • Hypoxia
    Hypoxia is the medical name for insufficient oxygen in the blood. Normally it is caused by a cardiac or pulmonary disease.
  • Indicator
    Observed value representative of a phenomenon to study. In general, indicators quantify information by aggregating different and multiple data. The resulting information is therefore synthesised. In short, indicators simplify information that can help to reveal complex phenomena.
  • Infrastructure
    The basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society. Such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices and prisons.
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the full cycle of information collection, planning (in its broadest sense), decision making, management and monitoring of implementation. ICZM uses the informed participation and cooperation of all stakeholders to assess the goals in a given coastal area and to take action towards meeting these objectives. ICZM seeks, over the long-term, to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives. All within the limits set by natural dynamics. 'Integrated' in ICZM refers to the integration of objectives and also to the integration of the many instruments needed to meet these objectives. It means integration of all relevant policy areas, sectors and levels of administration. It means integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space.
  • Macro economic
    The study of the overall aspects and workings of a national economy, such as income, output and the interrelationship among diverse economic sectors.
  • Market-based approach
    Approaching a situation based on current market trends.
  • Mediterranean action plan
    The Mediterranean action plan (MAP) strives to protect the environment and to foster sustainable development in the Mediterranean Sea. It was adopted in Barcelona, Spain, in 1975 by 16 Mediterranean States and the EC, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its legal framework comprises the Barcelona Convention which was adopted in 1976. It was revised in 1995 with six protocols covering specific aspects of environmental protection. A Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development was also established by MAP in 1995 to facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the Mediterranean area.
  • Natural protected areas
    An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, of natural, associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.
  • Nesting grounds
    Are generally safe areas where birds, fish, insects and other animals deposit eggs or keep their young.
  • Non-renewable natural resources
    Natural resources that cannot be replaced within a short time span (if at all) eg. Coal, peat and oil etc.
  • Periphery
    The bounding line or surface. A surrounding region.
  • Polluter pays principle
    The Principle that the cost of controlling environmental pollution should be internalized (ie. borne by the polluter developer or consumer) rather than imposed on society as a whole.
  • Renewable natural resources
    Natural resources that can be replaced or renewed within a short time span eg. Soft pine wood trees
  • Regulatory approach
    Approaching a situation based on appropriate regulations or legislation.
  • Standardization
    To bring into conformity with a standard.
  • Shareholder
    One that owns or holds a share or shares of stock; a stockholder. Also called shareowner.
  • Stakeholder
    Any party that has an interest in an organisation. Stakeholders of a company include stockholders, bondholders, customers, suppliers, employees and etc.
  • Spatial planning
    Planning strategies between the land and ocean sides of the coastal zone.
  • Territory
    Posessions in land. The whole or a portion of the land belonging to the state. A dependency, a region, a jurisdiction and a field of activity.
  • Tourism industry’s assets
    Something that will be of economic benefit to the tourist industry eg. Clean sandy beaches, good views, etc.
  • Tourism revenue
    Money made from tourism.
  • Waste collection and separation
    Where waste is separated according to its composition. For example the separation of plastic, paper, tin and glass. This makes waste collection and recycling much easier.
  • Wastewater treatment facilities
    Treatment facilities that are able to clean and make wastewater safe.
  • World Tourism Organization
    The World Tourism Organization (WTO) is a UN agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. Its head quarters are in Madrid, Spain.
  • WWF
    World Wildlife Fund for Nature
  • Zoning
    A regulatory process that divides a given geographical area into sub areas and each of which is designated for a particular use or uses.