Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Aldo Chircop


For long, coastal management focused on the sustainable utilization of coastal resources and avoidance and management of conflict, as well as the promotion of complementarities between users. However, with rising sea levels and other climate change impacts, coastal management has become increasingly complex. This thesis investigates the legal instruments underpinning the management of coastal zones, exploring the concept of sustainable coastal development (SCD) and the relevance of the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) process. Specifically, the discourse analyzes how law and legal regimes play a backbone role in strengthening and supporting ICZM implementation by facilitating the linkage between ICZM and coastal climate change adaptation (CCCA) to contribute to SCD. Countless reports and studies testify that several of the world’s coastal regions have already and will continue to be detrimentally impacted by sea level rise (SLR) and climate change. One of the major theaters where these impacts will be most acute is South Asia, where vast populations are crowded into low-lying coastal areas. Most of the residents in these zones are economically constrained and have poor adaptive capacities, leaving them particularly vulnerable to climate change and SLR. Accordingly, operationalizing ICZM and linking it with CCCA is vital to these coastal communities, as is enacting and reengineering their coastal laws to affect the linkage. However, given the magnitude of the problem and the inability of most of the South Asian coastal countries to be able to respond singularly to the challenges there is an urgent need for greater regional co-operation. Drawing on the experiences of other coastal countries and regions, certain core principles that can inform coastal law-making for South Asia are identified. The idea is that these principles when set in a regional level instrument (in the instant case, the South Asian Seas Action Plan), will not only go a long way to strengthen regional cooperation, but also, and more importantly, will help coastal countries develop their respective coastal laws by effectuating the linkage between ICZM and CCCA implementation. This reform agenda has significant potential to facilitate the move towards SCD.