_: The Department of Environmental Affairs is pleased to announce that the Department’s National Environmental: Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act No. 24 of 2008) (ICM Act) has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2012 World Future Policy Award.
The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness for these 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 World Future Council chooses one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.
In 2012, the award is dedicated to exemplary coastal and ocean policies. For this year’s theme the World Future Council is partnering 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.
Thirty one outstanding policies from 22 countries and regions were nominated on the long-list in June 2012. The nominated policies range from national ocean policies, marine protected area programmes and integrated coastal zone management plans, to policies regulating fisheries, trade in marine products, marine litter and land-sea interactions. As part of a comprehensive evaluation process under way, South Africa’s ICM Act has been placed on the short-list, comprising 6 policies from five different countries.
These will be further scrutinised by a jury that will decide on the winners. The winning policies will be announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2012 and celebrated at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India in October 2012.
In 1992, the same year as the World Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro and Agenda 21 was published, the Department of Environmental Affairs embarked on a process to change the way South Africa’s coast was managed from an ad hoc and fragmented approached to an inclusive and integrated approach. Negotiations with all coastal stakeholders, including the then extra-parliamentary political parties, 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 (2000) 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.
As part of the institutional and legal reform flowing from the Action Plan, South Africa promulgated the National Environmental: Integrated Coastal Management Act (No. 24 of 2008) that entered into force in December 2009. It is the first legal instrument of its kind in South Africa, dedicated to managing our coastline in an integrated fashion and ensuring the sustainable use of the coast’s natural resources. The Act offers a new approach to managing the activities of people in the coastal zone. The Act is based on a national vision for the coast, which includes the socially justified sharing of benefits derived from a resource-rich coastal area without compromising the ability of future generations to access those benefits. The objectives of the ICM Act are to:
Determine the coastal zone of South Africa.
Provide within the framework of the National Environmental Management Act, for the coordinated and integrated management of the coastal zone by all spheres of government in accordance with the principles of co-operative governance.
Preserve, protect, extend and enhance the status of coastal public property as being held in trust by the State on behalf of all South Africans, including future generations.
Secure equitable access to the opportunities and benefits of coastal public property, and
Give effect to South Africa’s obligations in terms of international law regarding coastal management and the marine environment.
“I am absolutely delighted with the ICM Act being shortlisted for the 2012 World Future Policy Award for exemplary coastal and ocean policies. When we started the process of transforming the way the coast should be managed in South Africa, in 1992, we gave ourselves 20 years to move from no system of coastal management, to an inclusive and fully effective system of integrated coastal management.
It is thus very rewarding to be shortlisted for this prestigious award exactly 20 years after we started our process. It means a lot to South Africa and we eagerly await the announcement of the winners.
I would also like to use this opportunity to congratulate the other four countries on this achievement – by all working together we can ensure the future of our oceans and coasts,” said Dr Monde Mayekiso, the Deputy Director-General: Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs.
Copies of the ICM Act, a User-friendly version of the ICM Act, The White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa and related documentation, can be downloaded from the department’s website: http://www.environment.gov.za/.
More information on the award process, and partners, can be found online at the World Future Council’s website www.worldfuturecouncil.org and on the blog of the Future Policy Award team www.futurepolicyaward.org.