chapter  1
Pages 7

Introduction This book is a study of the concept of integrated national maritime policy (INMP) with special reference to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The concept of INMP is of growing importance in marine governance: over 30 countries have either adopted it already or are evaluating it, and the European Union (EU) Commission has developed a maritime policy that it is rolling out across its maritime member states (CEC 2008). Moreover, an integrated approach to maritime policy has been endorsed by several international regimes, including the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). As Dr Joe Borg, former EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner, said, ‘the need for an integrated approach to maritime affairs seems fairly obvious. It is clearly an idea whose time has come’ (Borg 2008). The meaning of the concept is derived from the fact that the maritime policy of most EU member states is currently divided between many different sectors, including shipping, trade, transport, energy, telecommunications, oil and mineral extraction, fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection, security and safety, scientific research, and tourism, and there has been little attempt to coordinate sectoral decision-making. As a result, conflicts occur between sectors, and the use of resources is often suboptimal. A more integrated approach, whereby all uses of maritime resources are harmonized, would ensure a much more efficient and cost-effective system, improving the security and the economic, environmental and strategic performance of the nation. As Cicin-Sain and Knecht (1998: 16) point out, the sectoral approach was appropriate when there was little competition between users:

Before the twentieth century, the oceans were used principally for two purposes: navigation and fishing. Except occasionally in the most congested ocean waters, conflicts between these uses were few and far between. Hence, traditional coastal and marine resource management has been characterized by a sector-by-sector approach.