A new model indicator set to measure the progress in the implementation of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is described. The methodology that has been used recognises that the ICZM management cycle can be broken down into a series of discrete ranked actions. These actions show what is needed, using a straightforward, step-wise methodology, to pass from a situation where no ICZM is being used to one where it is being fully implemented, by being grouped into a series of five discrete ordered and continuous phases. The actions, 26 in total, are not completely exhaustive but are comprehensive enough to allow progress in ICZM to be measured. A comparative analysis can then be conducted by an assessment using semi-quantitative criteria. Set alongside indicators of sustainable development or state of the coast, this indicator set will also be a test of the hypothesis underpinning the EU ICZM Recommendation - that ICZM is a prerequisite for a more sustainable coast. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.