At a hand-over ceremony of the Eden District Coastal Management Programme at a recent GRI working session (Garden Route Initiative), the coastal B municipalities received the final draft of the Integrated Coastal Management Programme for the Eden Coast. The document will now undergo Government Gazetting and after the final 60 day commenting period will be signed off by Minister Bredell, making this the first Coastal Management Programme for South Africa under the Integrated Coastal Management Act of 2009.
To date, management of the coastal zone has been undertaken in a fragmented approach by-and-large as a result of the structure of the previous dispensation. Under the previous dispensation no less than six local government administrations were responsible for the management of the coast, and within each administration a multitude of departments and line functions. Little coordination and integration of efforts and approaches between these departments, line functions and administrations took place which has resulted in a fragmented and localised approach to coastal management. These approaches in turn lead to a situation where no clear authority or responsibility for coastal management existed. The integration of line functions and the recognition that the coastal zone is a distinct management area with specific management needs is central to the effective protection, enhancement and optimisation of the coastal zone. The Eden District Municipal Coastal Management Programme aims to address this.
The Eden District Coastal Management programme offers a unique opportunity to introduce a paradigm shift including:
1. A coordinated and integrated approach to coastal zone management from a citywide perspective
2. Recognition of the coastal zone as a distinct and unique management area
3. Recognition of the coastal asset in terms of economic and social development
4. The establishment of a multi-disciplinary coordinating coastal management team
5. Responsibility, accountability and action
6. Centralised planning and budgeting around coastal issues
7. Equitable access to our coast and its associated economic and social opportunities
8. Participative, open and transparent approaches to coastal zone management
9. Creative, dynamic and new approaches to coastal zone management
According to Eden Environmental Management Officer, Vernon Gibbs-Halls – “The coastal zone of Eden is a unique and valuable asset that if managed effectively and correctly will continue to offer a multitude of social, environmental and economic opportunities to local, national and international communities. The management approach presented here is based on the fundamental principle that the coastal zone is a unique and specific entity that requires specific and holistic management. A successful Programme will ensure that our unique coastal asset is managed in such a way that the economic and social opportunities it presents are optimised while its environmental integrity is maintained. For this strategy to be successful, it requires commitment of capacity and resources by Council and the relevant line functions to the management of the coastal zone. Further, a successful strategy will depend on the establishment of solid partnerships with organisations and communities throughout the Eden Municipal District.”