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by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:09 PM

Themes in Coastal Management: Governance


Good governance is recognized around the world as the core of effective and sustainable coastal management. "Governance" is much more than just government; it encompasses the processes in which public, private and civil society actors organize themselves and coordinate with each other to make decisions, and distribute rights, obligations and authority for the use of shared coastal resources. A central operating principle of the Coastal Resource Management Program (CRMP) is that effective governance systems create the essential preconditions for achieving environmental and social benefits.

Integrated coastal management (ICM) plays an important role in advancing places towards sustainable forms of coastal development through a linked sequence of outcomes. First order outcomes are expressed as formalized commitments to ICM plans, establishment of institutional mechanisms, and provision of the funding and other resources that make feasible the implementation of policies and actions. Second order outcomes are changed behaviors which occur as the result of successful implementation of ICM plans. They include institutional change, positive results of state-civil society partnerships, and behavioral changes of resource users. Second order changes in behaviors of user groups and organizations are the precursors to third order outcomes the results that are expressed as measurable improvements in targeted environmental and socioeconomic parameters. Most ICM programs target third order outcomes. CRMP's primary objective in the countries where its coastal managers work is to advance the ICM governance process towards more sustainable forms of development. Achievements of a sequence of outomes are the stepping stones that lead to the ultimate goal.


During the first phase of CRMP, from 1985 to 1995, long-term field programs were conducted in Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Since 1995, during its second phase, CRMP has worked with partners in Tanzania, Indonesia, and Mexico to advance ICM at both national and local levels.


CRMP recognizes that progress in ICM happens place by place, and that the principles and governance arrangements that foster ICM must be tailored to the unique conditions, culture and history of each nation. CRC has adopted a strategy that calls for experimenting with the application of ICM practices at the local scale, while building constituencies, capacity and policy within national government. This "two-track approach" features an initial emphasis on tangible demonstrations of what ICM means and how it can result in improved governance, changed behaviors and improved conditions. Pilot projects also reveal how the principles of good governance should be tailored to the culture and needs of a specific country.




A village meeting in the Tanzanian coastal town of Kilwa. Successful coastal management encourages public participation.


CRMP is currently working intensively to develop ICM demonstrations in multiple coastal communities in Indonesia, and in the coastal community of Xcalak, Mexico. An important milestone in each community effort is the preparation and formal adoption of management plans. Management plans for each demonstration site have been adopted and are being actively implemented.
Building ICM governance capacity at the sub-national level is also part of CRMP demonstrations. At the bay scale, management plans and action strategies have been prepared for Bahia Santa Maria in Sinaloa, Mexico, Balikpapan Bay, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Chwaka Bay-Paje, Zanzibar.  Action strategies were developed for larger geographic areas where there is rapid development -- such as Lampung Province in Sumatra, Indonesia -- and CRMP is also contributing to efforts for ecosystem management of the Gulf of California.

Sub-national and community-based management needs supportive policy and institutional structures at the national level to be effective and sustained in the long term. Whether working primarily at the national or local level, strategies to improve supportive links between central governance structures and policies, and sub-national governance, are key in all locations. In this way, ICM builds capacity for effective decentralized management.


National-level initiatives to build capacity for ICM governance across spatial and sectoral scales have been major components of CRMP's work in Tanzania and Indonesia. These and other national efforts build from both local and international experience, and work to nest in central government conditions that enable and support local initiatives, while addressing coastal development and conservation that is in the national interest.



RESOURCES: Governance

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