Southeast Pacific region (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru) will join ICAN through SPINCAM Project

Julian Barbière (IOC-UNESCO),
Fernando Félix (CPPS),
Alejandro Iglesias-Campos (ICAN) 

Introduction to SPINCAM

The Southeast Pacific data and Information Network in support to Integrated Coastal Area Management, SPINCAM Project ( , aims to establish a coastal management indicator framework in each country of the Southeast Pacific region (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru), focused on environmental and socio-economic conditions within the context of sustainable development and integrated coastal area management.
The project is being executed through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) ( with the financial support of the Government of Flanders (Belgium) (

Specifically, SPINCAM aims to create an information system at national and regional level that support the development of indicators, their spatial representation, and the dissemination of ICAM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) resources and experiences with the following objectives:

  1. To support the implementation and effectiveness of ICAM through the improvement of data and information management capacity, knowledge, communication and networking at regional and national level;
  2. To improve the delivery of data and information on the status of coastal resources and their management for the use by all coastal stakeholders (decision makers/civil society);

The expected outcome of the project is to build technical and managerial capacity for the development of indicator-based reports (state of the coast report for decision makers/civil society), including their spatial representations within the framework of existing national and regional ICAM programmes.

ICAM in Latin America

Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) is a process that unites government and the community, science and management, sectoral and public interests in preparing and implementing an integrated plan for the protection and development of coastal ecosystems and resources. Since the 1990s the concept of ICAM has been recommended by UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) and, more recently, WSSD (Johannesburg, 2002), as well as several global and regional Conventions (CBD, 1995; GPA-LBA, 1995; Regional Seas Convention, revised in 1995). These instruments have recognized ICAM as way to achieve the sustainable management of the coastal zones.

ICAM initiatives have been implemented in Latin America and Caribbean countries, most of them at sub-regional and local level. Some of these projects were successful, and there are lessons to be learned from them. The establishment of a dedicated coastal management network at the regional level is needed to support the sharing of information, experience and expertise not only amongst the countries, but even within the countries,among different agencies, institutions, and stakeholders who share a common interest for the management of coastal zones.

At the regional level, the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS, in Spanish) (, which includes Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, is the organization responsible for the coordination of marine policies of its Member States. Through the Action Plan for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the Southeast Pacific (Lima Convention), in which a fifth country, Panamá is also a partner, countries have agreed to work collectively for the wise planning of coastal zones.

In 1989, with the formal approval of the Plan for Territorial Organization of Marine and Coastal Zones, on the occasion of the fourth Intergovernmental Meeting of the Southeast Pacific Action Plan, this regional cooperation mechanism, supported by UNEP and other international organizations, initiated the execution of activities on integrated coastal management. The objective of the Plan for Territorial Organization of Marine and Coastal Zones is to develop regional policies and actions for sustainable territorial planning, as well as to promote capacity building in the field of marine and coastal zone management in the Southeast Pacific countries. From the start of the SPINCAM project in 2008, the need to frame the project in response to the existing regional governance framework was recognized, and as a result CPPS was requested to act as the regional coordinator of the project.

The SPINCAM project contains a substantial data and information management component that underpins the development of indicator-based reports at national and regional level.

The principal mechanism for managing and exchanging oceanographic data and information within the region is the Ocean Data and Information Network for the Caribbean and South America region (ODINCARSA) (, which is a project of the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) ( programme of the IOC/UNESCO.

ODINCARSA was set up to strengthen ocean data and marine information management capacity in the Caribbean and Latin America region in order to contribute to Ocean Sciences, operational oceanography development and integrated coastal management activities at the regional level.

Launched in 2001, the IODE programme established a regional network of more than 60 National Institutions within 19 IOC Member States, with 237 experts from different sectors related to ocean and marine activities. ODINCARSA is an excellent platform for ICAM projects in the region and connections have been built and consolidated with Governmental organizations, especially in Pacific South America to support ICAM initiatives in this region.

A core element of the IODE data system is the National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC). This national facility is responsible, at the national level, for the quality control and archiving of oceanographic data as well as for the dissemination of these data (and products) to users; at the international level, the NODCs exchange data with other NODCs in the IODE network and they provide the national data to the ICSU World Data Centres for Oceanography for global dissemination. The development and support of NODCs in the Caribbean and South America region is one of main objectives of ODINCARSA.

In terms of marine information (library) management, ODINCARSA has made considerable progress in building information networks such as the Latin American Group on Marine information management and the Regional working Group on Digital repository (OceanDocs). ODINCARSA has furthermore actively promoted active and effective relationships among marine institutions in the Project area and is a suitable partner to enhance the SPINCAM Information system where the NODCs role will be paramount in providing data for the development of coastal indicators and their dissemination to various stakeholders.

SPINCAM II – Towards a Southeast Pacific Coastal Atlas

SPINCAM II seeks to strengthen the integrated coastal management processes initiated in the first phase of the project, the development of tools to support decision-making and to improve capacities on data and information management, knowledge, communication and networking at national and regional level, attending the needs of each country.

This second phase will emphasize the need to institutionalize the SPINCAM project. Another crucial issue is to define clear and effective mechanisms at the national level for funding future developments and maintenance of SPINCAM outputs, as well as to promote training processes.

The Project will be structured in this second phase around four specific objectives:

  • To strengthen the framework of national and regional ICAM indicators to assist in decision making through partnerships and collaborations among institutions.
  • To coordinate and integrate further coastal and marine data and information systems at national level through the IODE National Oceanographic Data Centers.
  • To design and implement a strategy for dissemination and awareness of the ICAM indicator framework among local and regional stakeholders.
  • To promote continuous training and formation to strengthen the institutional capacities.

SPINCAM Coastal Web Atlas

The development of indicators on the state of the coast during the first phase of SPINCAM Project has facilitated the implementation of a geoportal as a work space which maintains, exchanges and displays the spatial information and experiences among countries.

The SPINCAM Coastal Atlas ( is structured with an interactive legend for the active layers, an overview of the region, the main viewer with different functionalities and the list of layers available.

Layers of information currently available for all countries are coastal and marine protected areas, population density in coastal regions and the quality of coastal and marine waters.

Besides the information on coastal indicators, data from other sources, such as the IOC/Flanders/CPPS project, the Southeast Pacific Information System on Biodiversity and Protected Areas (SIBIMAP/SEPIS) can be easily uploaded.

In addition, the Atlas allows combining layers of coastal indicators and layers with information on cetaceans, sea turtles and sharks, and their respective metadata
The data viewer contains in its initial stage functionalities that will be extended during the second phase of the project. Currently, the user is allowed to zoom in/out, pan, to obtain information about the attributes of information shown and the ability to add layers of information from the user.


Since 2011, representatives of International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) have joined the SPINCAM workshops emphasizing the value of information in integrated coastal zone management and the pillars of Integrated Coastal Zone Management: 1) environmental data, indicators, tools 2) dissemination and good practices and 3) importance of knowledge for public participation and cooperation worldwide.

The membership of SPINCAM in ICAN increases the area of cooperation and collaboration with other Coastal Web Atlases in Latin America and the Caribbean that favour the exchange of experiences and good practices, both in terms of technology development, content and exploitation of coastal atlases.

As a first contact with the ICAN Community, SPINCAM will participate in the next ICAN event, and will lead a side event on the advances in the implementation of the Southeast Pacific Data and information Network in Support to Integrated Coastal Area Management (SPINCAM) Project (IOC-UNESCO/Flanders/CPPS) during the CoastGIS 2013 Conference, 18-21 June 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Vol, 8, Nr 2 - Now Available!

We are now entering our 9th year publishing the ICAN newsletter. Many thanks to our Editor Andy Sherin!

Please consider preparing an article for the next newsletter that will likely be published in the spring of this year.

Happy New Year!

Photos from CoastGIS 2018

Our friends from CoastGIS 2018 have posted a wonderful gallery of photos, including the recent ICAN mini-workshop:

See how many ICAN members you can spot!