<< | overview | >>

BONUS BALTCOAST: BONUS BALTCOAST Case Study Latvia: Coastal municipal governance in the Salacgriva rural coastal municipality (Eastern coast of Riga Gulf)

Type of Entry: Case Study
Website: http://www.baltcoast.net/municipal-governance.html
Duration: 01/04/2015 - 31/03/2018


The case study area is placed on 5-15 km in-land broad coastal strip of the Baltic Sea having an area of 638 km2, in Salacgriva. It is an attractive place for tourism. With respect to environmental and participatory governance the municipality is one of the most advanced in Latvia, having a number of active bottom-up participation traditions and mechanisms (e.g. village development based NGOs, village elders, municipal advisory councils with recognizable impact on local formal decision making). But still, according to the stakeholders’ opinions, it has limited local coastal development, covering the whole coastal resources protection, ongoing degradation and risks minimization, towards sustainable coastal use for common purposes. Therefore, the main case study focus has been to explore and evaluate three different municipality coastal governance approaches and to integrate the SAF/ICM into local spatial planning. For this overall objective, applying the SAF, the comprehensive municipal coastal information system (both the content and implementation procedures) has been developed. Based on it, alternative scenarios for multiple uses of coastal area have been developed and major conflicting issues explored.


  • Overall objective - testing SAF approach for coastal governance process improvement:
  • To create, based on active public/stakeholders involvement, better coastal development planning and coastal governance processes at the local level;
  • To create coastal municipality owned coastal information management system, including its perspective later adaptation to national/local information possibilities/needs;
  • On the basis of the System Dynamic Model of the SAF methodology, to develop the innovative coastal governance interface (module) with particular ICZM instruments, all products of it is the national innovations in Latvia.


  • The case study was initiated by University of Latvia Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences - within the scope of the BONUS BALTCOAST project, which is coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde.

ICZM tools applied within the case study:

  • Systems Approach Framework;
  • Stakeholder Mapping;
  • System analysis tool for municipal coastal outlook;
  • comprehensive municipal coastal information system, sustainability Indicators;
  • stakeholder involvement tools;
  • direct physical measurements (coastal erosion process evaluation) and long-term analysis of meteorological observation data (to find long-term tendencies reflecting climate change).

Case study site highlights and experiences that can be exchanged:

  • The case study demonstrates an approach of establishing the interface between SAF methodology and coastal & development planning (including plans implementation and supervision) methodology;
  •  An innovative coastal governance interface (module) with particular ICZM instruments and special emphasis on creation of coastal municipality owned Coastal information management system (which later might be adapted to national/regional coastal information needs) has been developed;
  • The case study focus is on the improvement and change of the coastal governance system itself, both process and content, based on collaboration of the stakeholders as the key driving force for integrated and sustainable coastal zone management (protection, use and development of coastal socio-economic, natural and cultural resources);
  • The case study explored the generic and typical problems of ICM overall process at the rural coastal municipalities in Latvia. For this purpose, the functioning of the whole set of municipal governance actors, mechanisms and instruments have been studied;
  • The experience can be exchanged to other rural coastal municipalities of new EU member states.



  • Process how to improve coastal governance of rarely populated coastal municipalities elaborated;
  • Multi-disciplinary research practice implemented;
  • Clear interface between academic research and municipal coastal decision-making and supervision of municipal development planning documents established;
  • Diversity of coastal stakeholders demonstrated;
  • Voluntary actions how municipality may promote good coastal governance established;
  • Local stakeholders’ capacity considered.


  • Transferability to municipalities of “old” EU states might be limited due to different conditions (different possibilities of municipal budgets, community planning, data availability);
  • The case study does not cover coastal governance in coastal cities/town (project has pre-defined focus on rural municipality);
  • The careful elaboration of the products/materials within the proposed procedure might be rather costly (restriction of the transferability of the method due to limited own resources of even interested in the method municipalities).


  • Further development of SAF methodology for coastal governance processes, including coastal spatial planning;
  • Further development of practical applicability of elaborated products;
  • Considering and adaptation of the elaborated materials in a higher administrative levels (regional, national);
  • Use of diverse funding for further transferability of elaborated products;
  • Actions to motivate and create capacity of local stakeholders for coastal governance improvement.


  • The following can limit the implementation of method;
  • Non-availability of experts to establish multidisciplinary team;
  • Not enough co-operation with local stakeholders;
  • Not enough availability of financial sources;
  • Normative basis of current development and coastal planning does not state the necessity for elaborated materials.

Keywords: Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Managed realignment, Municipal institutions, Recreation and Tourism
Contact: Mr. Raimonds Ernšteins
University of Latvia (UL)
Jelgava str. 1
1004 Riga
Telephone: +37129476620
Website: https://www.lu.lv/eng/
Partner: Salacgriva municipality
Financed by: BONUS BALTCOAST project has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and Baltic Sea national funding institutions (https://www.bonusportal.org/)