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A recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) determined that 20.6% of the world's population currently lives within 30 km of the nearest coastline, 29.2% within 60 km, 35% within 90 km, and 39.5% within 120 km. By the year 2050 more people will live within 120 km of the coastline than are alive in the world today. Canada, the United States, and Mexico are adjacent coastal nations where the impact of significantly increased human activity in the coastal zone by the year 2050 may be potentially catastrophic. Integrated coastal management (ICM) may have a role to play within, and between, all three countries to help ameliorate this situation. The objectives of this paper are threefold. First, it seeks to define what is meant by the term "ICM." Second, it seeks to describe the current legal context for ICM in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Third, it seeks to identify "lessons" that Canada, the United States, and Mexico can learn from each other with a view towards the more sustainable management of the coastal zones within and between all three countries. This paper concludes that there are a number of key gaps in the way that ICZM issues in all three countries are currently being addressed.



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