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Integrated Ecosystem Management of River Basins and the Coastal Zone in Brazil

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International society has begun to consider river basins and the coastal zone as one management unit that requires an ecosystem approach. Various countries have undertaken initiatives since the 1970s and have improved the approach to integrated coastal zone management. Brazil has not been one of them. Its sector-based approach to most environmental issues started in the 1980s with the National Environmental Policy Act (Law 6,938/1981). The National Coastal Zone Management Plan (NCZMP) was then approved by Law 7,661 in 1988. Shortly thereafter, the 1988 Brazilian Constitution was enacted, which established the environment as a common good to be used by the entire society but in such a way as to prevent environmental degradation and conserve its quality for present and future generations. The National Water Resources Policy (NWRP) was not enacted until 1997 (Law 9,433/1997). This law established that water resource management in Brazil must take into account estuarine ecosystems and the coastal zone, using an integrated approach. Only in 2006 did the National Water Resources Council (NWRC) create a technical chamber dedicated to developing regulatory measures for integrated management in Brazil. There has been substantial discussion and various proposals to implement it, as outlined in this article. This paper concludes with suggestions for implementing integrated river basin and coastal zone management in Brazil.

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Interministerial Commission of Marine Resources


National Environmental Council


Ecosystem Based Management


Integration Group of Coastal Management


National Coastal Zone Management Plan


National Water Resources Council


National Water Agency


Technical Chamber for Integrated Management of River Basin, Estuarine Systems and Coastal Zone


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


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Correspondence to Stella Emery Santana.

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Santana, S.E., Barroso, G.F. Integrated Ecosystem Management of River Basins and the Coastal Zone in Brazil. Water Resour Manage 28, 4927–4942 (2014).

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