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ReCoMaP is ...

  • ICZM committees in place and capacity planning and monitoring of ICZM, integrated management of coastal areas or marine protected area
  • Many books, guides and booklets on the management of solid waste, the production of sea cucumbers and seaweed, octopus management in Rodrigues ...
  • 63 committed projects with non-state actors (5.5 million)
  • Projects very diverse mariculture (cultivation of seaweed, pearl oyster, crab and fish farming, rearing of sea cucumbers ..), improved management of marine protected areas, the fight against coastal erosion management waste, ecotourism ...
  • 30 school competitions, 35,000 booklets to raise awareness of coastal management distributed to school children and college students (1200 trained teachers)
  • Support for a score of national media
  • 15 newsletters published

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Sustainable Management of Coastal Zones

The degradation of marine and coastal resources causes increased poverty among the population who depend on these resources in the coastal zone of the southwestern region of the Indian Ocean.


The Indian Ocean Commission aims at increasing the living standards of people through the enhancement of marine and coastal resources and at promoting sustainable socio-economic development. ?One of its main areas of intervention is the development and implementation of national plans for integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), which will target priority sites due to both, the interest in the preservation of their biodiversity and their potential in terms of socio-economic development for the zone.

The results of such actions of the IOC are summarised as follows: -

  • Human capacity building and development of tools for the design of ICZM plans and for their effective implementation in the region;
  • Improved monitoring and management of fisheries, biodiversity and natural resources of coastal areas;
  • Enhancing the awareness of policy makers, private sector operators, NGO's and of the civil society on issues related to the problems of coastal zone management;
  • Development of regional training capacity;
  • Capacity building for people involved in multilateral negotiations on the environment.

What is ICZM ?

A selection of coastal use forms giving an impression of what ICZM is covering (Joliffe & Patman, 1985)

ICZM is a development and management principle in itself. A common misunderstanding of ICZM is that it is just another approach to coastal environmental management and coastal conservation. ICZM reaches however far beyond environmental issues as it covers and seeks to inter-connect all sectors of importance for coastal development including socio-economic, financial and planning sectors to name just three of the less obvious ones.

Being highly multisectoral, multi-user and multi-stakeholder driven, it is not surprising that ICZM is one of the most complex management and development principles in use. It comprises a vast array of interlinked and integrative methods and tools applied in Coastal Policy Development, Planning, Implementation and Monitoring Processes.

It is in fact this complexity that calls for integrative management principles, appropriate for the coastal environment, its resources and management processes as well its multitude and diversity of stakeholders and actors who intend to manage the coastal zone in efficient and sustainable ways.

Some Key Principles of Integrated Coastal Management

  • Precaution in Coastal Zone Management

Action ought not to be postponed even if the causal link between those activities and the impact has not yet been fully confirmed…

  • Integrate Sectoral Development in Coastal Zone Management

All opportunities should be taken to promote development of socio- economic sectors in an integrated way, taking careful account of the local carrying capacity…

  • Protect Coastal Land- and Seascapes

The most special areas should remain free from all but the most limited development required to make areas accessible while maintaining their visual integrity...

  • Protect Human Lives and Settlements

Coastal management should contribute to the safety of the people who live there…

  • Non-Development Zones

Undeveloped stretches of coasts need to be preserved for the use of present and future generations…

  • Prevent the Introduction of Alien Species

The introduction of alien species carries great risks to natural ecosystems and resources and should be prevented…

  • Only Coast-Dependent Activities in the Coastal Zone

The scale of activities in the coastal zone should be appropriate in relation to the natural, cultural and physical characteristics… New development which does not absolutely depend on the coastal environment should be located outside of the coastal zone…

  • Zero-Net-Loss of Coastal Habitat

When valuable sites are identified for development or use, another of like or larger size should be created and protected. Existing levels of coastal habitat therefore should be preserved, and where possible, increased…

  • Maintain and Enhance Coastal Processes

Preservation of the natural character of dynamic coastal ecosystems can enhance the resilience against environmental stresses…

  • Prevent Habitat Fragmentation

New coastal developments should be located adjacent to (and possibly landwards of) already existing developments...

  • Create and Maintain Ecological Corridors

Migration is of importance to the survival of numerous animal species. Maintaining or restoring the natural integrity of migration corridors is of paramount importance…

  • Coastal Habitat Re-creation

Habitat re-creation should be treated as a measure of last resort, given that new habitats are rarely as diverse as those they replace… New habitats should be created prior to the destruction of an existing habitat…

  • Contaminant-Free Construction and Reclamation

Materials used for coastal infrastructure should not include contaminants which might enter marine or coastal ecosystems…

  • Conservation of Water

Water conservation should be a primary concern in all development, with water saving technologies incorporated into all designs…

  • User Pays Principle

Prices charged for access to or use of natural coastal resources should reflect all short-term and long-term economic, environmental and social coasts associated with the use of those resources… If it is not possible to measure these costs their existence and relative importance should be taken into account…

  • The Coastline as Public Domain

The coastline should be considered as a part of the natural heritage, and private ownership of the coastline should be avoided. Decisions concerning coastal development should be taken with the full involvement of the public…

ICZM is ‘Integrated’

Horizontal and vertical integration of ICZM principles into governance and administrative processes

The integrative character of ICZM can be best understood when keeping in mind that ICZM is a set of principles. Integration as part of ICZM has two basic dimensions, the cross-sector and the people dimensions.

The first dimension means intersectoral technical correlation, coordination and cooperation for example following overall coastal development policies and strategies.

The second dimension means effective communication between stakeholders, which includes communication between institutional actors but also information dissemination, sensitisation, awareness participation of non-state actors and the civil society.

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Preserve healthy and productive marine and coastal ecosystems

Despite their diversity, the islands of the IOC identify themselves with their coastline to which biological resources are the key to their livelihoods, ensuring food security and the essential source of income. Key economic sectors such as fishing and tourism based on the exploitation of natural resources. Coastal ecosystems also perform many other functions: shoreline protection, filter pollution from land, nurseries for many marine species ...

If the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is still one of the least disturbed ocean areas ecologically, the marine and coastal environments began to show some signs of degradation over a decade. These fragile environments are subject to a variety of economic activities involving multiple actors with competing interests, even antagonistic. These are complex areas of strategic importance for the development of coastal and island countries, it is necessary to manage for the needs of the present without compromising future generations. The IOC Member States have therefore naturally focused their work programs on the protection and sustainable use of these resources.