Coastal Act shortlisted for global award


6 September 2012

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs’ Integrated Coastal Management Act has been shortlisted for the 2012 World Future Policy Award, the department announced on Wednesday.

The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations, aims to raise global awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.

The award is granted by the World Future Council, an international policy research organisation that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions.

Each year the council chooses one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.

This year’s award is dedicated to coastal and ocean policies.

The council has partnered with the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with support from the Okeanos Foundation.

Shortlisted from 31 policies

Thirty-one policies from 22 countries and regions were nominated on the longlist in June, with the policies ranging from national ocean policies and marine protected area programmes to integrated coastal zone management plans.

“As part of a comprehensive evaluation process under way, South Africa’s ICM Act has been placed on the shortlist, comprising six policies from five different countries, these will be further scrutinised by a jury that will decide on the winners,” the department said in a statement.

The winning policies are expected to be announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September and celebrated at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India in October.

‘Managing the coast in an inclusive way’

In 1992, the department embarked on a process to change the way South Africa’s coast was managed from a fragmented approached to an inclusive and integrated one.

Negotiations with all coastal stakeholders were initiated to agree on a process that would eventually culminate in South Africa’s first integrated coastal management policy.

“The programme involved extensive consultations with stakeholders to identify specific coastal management issues in each of the 13 coastal regions, and to formulate a vision for South Africa’s coast, the Green Paper, Draft White Paper and finally the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa were endorsed by stakeholders and Cabinet.”

The White Paper includes a vision, a set of coastal management principles, goals and objectives and an Action Plan.

First legal instrument of its kind

As part of the institutional and legal reform flowing from the Action Plan, South Africa promulgated the National Environmental: Integrated Coastal Management Act that became law in December 2009.

It is the first legal instrument of its kind in South Africa, dedicated to managing the country’s coastline in an integrated fashion and ensuring the sustainable use of the coast’s natural resources.

The objectives of the Act include determining the coastal zone of South Africa; providing for the coordinated and integrated management of the coastal zone by all spheres of government;and preserving, protecting, extending and enhancing the status of coastal public property as being held in trust by the State on behalf of all South Africans, including future generations.

Deputy director-general of oceans and coasts in the Environmental Affairs Department, Monde Mayekiso, said it was rewarding to be shortlisted. “It means a lot to South Africa and we eagerly await the announcement of the winners,” he said.