Achievement of environmental management goals and objectives in coastal areas, including how to measure success, remains a significant subject for discussion among scholars and practitioners, meanwhile four distinct management efforts potentially converge within the coastal zone: land-use planning (LUP), river basin management (RBM), marine spatial planning (MSP) and integrated coastal management (ICM). This paper examines the general lack of attention being paid to overlapping spatial boundaries within the landward and marine areas and proposes an indicator-based framework to measure the effectiveness of the individual planning instruments, as opposed to specific initiatives, in achieving management goals. The six indicators used in the framework (planning; participation; communication; integration; responsibility and balance) are based on a modified version of the Coastal Sustainability Standard methodology described by Gallagher (2010). The framework provides for four scenarios of progress in three geographical dimensions (river, municipality and marine area) to be assessed. For this study, the Caribbean coast of Colombia and Cuba were identified as the areas to test the feasibility and relevance of the indicator framework to monitor progress in the different management approaches established to achieve coastal sustainability. Several key observations and lessons from the indicator-based framework are discussed in order to analyze the overlapping of the four space-based instruments, identify areas for targeted intervention and improve their integration.