Specials Environment

Posted October 1998

Integrated coastal area management


Overview | Introduction | Summary guidelines | Agriculture, forestry and fisheries | Conflict resolution

This Special is taken from "Integrated coastal area management and agriculture, forestry and fisheries: FAO guidlines", (Environment and Natural Resources Service, FAO, Rome, 1998. 256 p). The full publication is available on-line. For a printed copy, contact nadia.scialabba@fao.org
IN MANY COUNTRIES, sector-oriented line ministries have the mandate, technical competence and professional experience to conserve, manage and develop coastal resources. Commitment on the part of some ministries is a condition for the successful adoption and application of truly integrated plans for the conservation, management and development of coastal resources. In addition to as the institutional capacities to undertake their tasks, the ministries must also have staff with a sufficiently flexible approach for constructive collaboration across ministries.

The FAO guidelines describe the institutional options, policy processes, planning mechanisms and issues specific to the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, respectively, with regard to ICAM. Since there are many approaches to resolving the often difficult institutional problems that arise when countries seek to adopt ICAM, guidance is proposed, rather than recipes.

Perhaps the most critical lesson to be learned from what is still fairly limited experience in ICAM is the need for adequate human and financial resources to be made available. In most cases, this calls for a reallocation of funds, rather than additional funding. However, line ministries understandably find it difficult to shift priority away from their traditional, sector-based issues to cross-sectoral ones.

Experience also points to a need to distinguish between coastal management strategy, which describes the goals and the means of achieving those goals, and plans, which express the objectives in terms of details, targets, policy instruments, necessary human and financial resources and time-frames.

The guidelines suggest that the responsibility for the preparation of an ICAM strategy (which provides the basis for sectoral plans) should lie with a lead, coordinating organization or body. The preparation of plans and the implementation of the strategy should be the responsibility of the line ministries. Alternatively, a new organization responsible for the design and implementation of ICAM plans might be established by government. The guidelines also suggest that such plans should not stand alone but should be an integral part of sectoral development, resource management and research activities. Plans should be flexible and adjusted periodically as more information becomes available or new issues are addressed.

Objectives and scope of the guidelines

The aim of the FAO guidelines is to enhance the contribution of the agriculture sector to the integrated management of coastal areas. The agriculture sector, as broadly defined, is comprised of the subsectors of agriculture (including crops and livestock), forestry (including timber, non-wood forest products and wildlife) and fisheries (including capture fisheries and aquaculture). The guidelines also provide an introduction to this approach for those who are not familiar with integrated management.

Specifically, the guidelines are intended to help to develop awareness in the agriculture sector line agencies and among resource users of: 1) the external or internal environmental effects that each sector may generate; and 2) the environmental impacts originating outside the sector and felt in one or more of the subsectors. In addition, the guidelines indicate ways for planners and resource users in each of the subsectors to take these impacts into account in plan formulation. Since any ICAM strategy will be influenced by the respective strengths of the bargaining positions of the many parties involved, the guidelines seek to improve the bargaining positions of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries subsectors. Other major interested parties include industry, urban areas and dwellers, the tourist sector, industrial ports, sea transport (including oil transport) and mining.

The guidelines should be useful, even where there are no formal institutional and organizational arrangements for integration and coordination for ICAM. Line agencies can take a proactive stance, and seek to clarify and quantify trans-sectoral impacts, as well as formulating and coordinating appropriate management interventions. This, in turn, will help to develop a constituency for more formal organizational arrangements for ICAM and the adoption of appropriate management strategies.

The goal of the guidelines is, therefore, to assist countries to achieve sustainable development of their coastal resources by contributing to:

  Structure of the guidelines
  The ambition of the FAO guidelines is to provide guidance on the processes, tools and possible interventions to be used in the integration of the agriculture sector into coastal area management. Since the audience is so broad, in Part A, the main text is complemented with figures, boxes and tables. These contain either general background information or somewhat more technical details. The four following parts are illustrated mainly with case studies and examples contained in boxes. The guidelines are presented in five parts:

Part A focuses on major issues common to the three subsectors, as well as perspectives and approaches to ICAM. It includes a brief discussion of the main techniques and tools used that are common to integrated policy and planning in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Aspects of the legal framework of ICAM that are equally applicable to all three subsectors are also included. Parts B, C and D contain technical issues and requirements specific to agriculture, forestry and fisheries, respectively, with regard to their interactions with other (sub)sectors and their incorporation into ICAM. Part E examines issues and tools for negotiation and conflict resolution relating to the use of natural resources.

Target audience

The guidelines are intended particularly for planners in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries subsectors who are concerned with development planning and natural resource management in marine coastal areas or in areas adjoining large inland water bodies. In addition, they are intended for officials in agencies with responsibilities for planning and investment in coastal areas. Finally, they target all those who are concerned with sound environmental conservation and management in coastal areas.

The place of the FAO guidelines within other initiatives

These FAO guidelines support the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 1992 Earth Summit Agenda 21, Chapter 17, Programme Area A, "Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal and marine areas, including exclusive economic zones". The guidelines are also relevant to other chapters of Agenda 21. (These are: Chapter 10, "Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources"; Chapter 11, "Combating deforestation"; Chapter 12, "Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought"; Chapter 13, "Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development"; Chapter 14, "Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development"; and Chapter 18, "Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources".)

The guidelines are complementary to FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 327, Integrated management of coastal zones (1992). The intention of the earlier publication was to provide some immediate support to UNCED Agenda 21, Chapter 17, Programme Area A, by identifying government actions that can lead to the effective management of coastal resources across the broad range of uses of coastal areas (from agriculture to water control and supply).

These guidelines examine more closely the issues peculiar to the agriculture sector, and describe the policy directions, planning tools and information requirements for policy formulation that are available to planners in these sectors. As such, they are the first "sectoral guidelines" among a number of guidelines so far prepared for ICAM.

A review of progress achieved in the implementation of the ICAM concept since the Earth Summit indicates that it has become a central organizing concept in a number of international agreements formally lacking a coast emphasis (e.g. the Biological Diversity Convention) and that several international entities have developed ICAM guidelines. Cicin-Sain, Knecht and Fisk (1995) compared the coastal management guidelines developed by five different international entities (i.e. OECD in 1991, the World Coast Conference Report in 1993, the World Bank in 1993, Pernetta and Elder for IUCN in 1993 and UNEP in 1995), based on ten major variables that were considered important in the design and implementation of ICAM (often referred to as integrated coastal management - ICM) programmes. These ten variables were: the scope/purpose (the major aspects covered); principles; definition of the management area; the functions of ICM; the legal basis for ICM; horizontal integration (mechanisms for intersectoral coordination); vertical integration (mechanisms for intergovernmental integration); financial arrangements; prescriptions on the use of science; and capacity building.

Based on their comparisons, the authors developed a "Consensus set of ICM guidelines" (see Table 1 below). These guidelines reinforce the consensus but recognize that horizontal and vertical integration cannot be successfully achieved without building the capacity of individual sectors to address trans-sectoral impacts. Thus, the guidelines strengthen the constituent components of the mosaic of users in coastal areas and focus on coordinated sectoral management along commonly agreed goals and strategies. Another conviction expressed in these guidelines is the importance of negotiation and conflict resolution in participatory development planning.

Table 1. A consensus set of integrated coastal management guidelines
Purpose of ICM The aim of ICM is to guide coastal area development in an ecologically sustainable fashion.
Principles ICM is guided by the Rio Principles with special emphasis on the principle of intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle. ICM is holistic and interdisciplinary in nature, especially with regard to science and policy.
Functions ICM strengthens and harmonizes sectoral management in the coastal zone. It preserves and protects the productivity and biological diversity of coastal ecosystems and maintains amenity values. ICM promotes the rational economic development and sustainable utilization of coastal and ocean resources and facilitates conflict resolution in the coastal zone.
Spatial integration An ICM programme embraces all of the coastal and upland areas, the uses of which can affect coastal waters and the resources therein, and extends seaward to include that part of the coastal ocean that can affect the land of the coastal zone. The ICM programme may also include the entire ocean area under national jurisdiction (Exclusive Economic Zone), over which national governments have stewardship responsibilities under both the Law of the Sea Convention and UNCED.
Horizontal and vertical integration Overcoming the sectoral and intergovernmental fragmentation that exists in today's coastal management efforts is a prime goal of ICM. Institutional mechanisms for effective coordination among various sectors active in the coastal zone and between the various levels of government operating in the coastal zone are fundamental to the strengthening and rationalization of the coastal management process. From the variety of available options, the coordination and harmonization mechanism must be tailored to fit the unique aspects of each particular national government setting.
Use of science Given the complexities and uncertainties that exist in the coastal zone, ICM must be built upon the best science (natural and social) available. Techniques such as risk assessment, economic valuation, vulnerability assessments, resource accounting, benefit-cost analysis and outcome-based monitoring should all be built into the ICM process, as appropriate.
Source: Cicin-Sain, Knecht and Fisk, 1995

A major international workshop on ICM in tropical countries, held in 1996 in Xiamen, China, discussed the lessons learned from successes and failures experienced with ICM efforts. The workshop generated: 1) an overview of the processes of formulating, designing, implementing and extending ICM within the East Asian region as well as to other regions; and 2) a set of good practices in the formulation, design and implementation of ICM initiatives (IWICM, 1996).

Sorensen (1997) critically reviewed the definitions, achievements and lessons of national and international ICM efforts. He reported that, in the past three decades, ICM practice has involved approximately 90 coastal nations which have been engaged in a least 180 programmes, projects or feasibility studies but that relatively little information has been generated on what works, what does not work and why. He stressed the importance of factors such as: formulation of a better consensus on definitions, concepts and achievement measurement; determination of lessons that can be derived from cross-national comparisions and the transferability of these lessons to international, national, and subnational institutions; and development of new and improved information exchange networks.

Integrated coastal area management: Overview | Introduction | Summary guidelines | Agriculture, forestry and fisheries | Conflict resolution

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