The ultimate goal of ICZM is making ground for a sustainable development in the coastal areas. Coastal areas throughout the history have been attractive for the mankind. The early civilizations have been created either near the seas or near large rivers. Popularity of the coastal areas for human communities continued over the years, however, in the 20th century human pressures on the coastal areas and over-exploitation of the coastal resources caused various problems such as increasing pollution, reducing biodiversity, and deteriorating the environmental situation in the coastal areas around the globe. To alleviate the pressures and diminishing the adverse effects of human activities on the coastal areas, the United Nations held an international forum via the “Environment and Development” conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 and encouraged the countries that have coastal areas to try to establish an integrated management at their coastal zones.
A variety of national, state and local initiatives have been developed to manage the coastal zone in a sustainable way. Most conventional coastal management programs attempt to address coastal hazards such as erosion and flooding, land based pollution, and vessel-source pollution through sectoral planning and sectoral management, i.e., in a non-integrated way. The on-going challenge is to reconcile multiple resource-use conflicts through integrated coastal zone management. The terms 'integrated coastal zone management' (ICZM) and 'integrated coastal management' (ICM) are the terms most commonly used in the literature since 1992 Rio conference.