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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Planning for development / Maputaland-South Africa.

Posted By: Yogani Govender, Mark Jury and Antonio Hoguane.
Date: Thursday, 8 July 1999, at 8:48 p.m.

Key words: integrated coastal management, rural development, transnational boundaries.

INTRODUCTION: Maputaland has relatively few tourist development projects. It is one of the most rural areas in South Africa with the lowest literacy rates, highest unemployment rates, backlogs in infrastructure and community facilities. Therefore the wise practices for coastal zone management should include several different aspects.


1. CAPACITY OUTREACH: this activity must be well developed to ensure the local communities understand the effort of coastal management is to ensure the protection of the local marine and coastal environment. It should also be an educational program for all stakeholder groups viz. government, conservation bodies and local communities. It should enable villagers to understand the need to manage their resources effectively.

2. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: relevant authorities and individuals from all sectors must be part of this structure for it to be a participatory and transparent process, so that there is little or no resistance to coastal management implementation.

3. LEGAL FRAMEWORK: The coastal zone management program must adhere to all national, provincial, regional and local legislation. Also there should be no conflicting views from these sectors as it can affect the decision making process.

4.HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: coastal management programs must encourage development of the local people as a first priority as well as the area. The type of development must be able to expand and diversify even after implementation of the program.

5.PLANNING: developments in the area must be well planned prior to implementation of coastal management programme such as planning of land use zones for housing, industrial, recreation, tourism, etc. This can prevent degradation of the environment by poor practice for example tourist development close to the beach as possible, dumping refuse into the sea and so on. A wise practice will also be to plan ahead the level to which the area can sustain development. Coastal zone management must deal with regulation of use and economic development of the area e.g. the siting of buildings must not destroy the visual amenities.

6.EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION: it is important that all stakeholders participate in decision making process. Local communities of the area have low literacy and therefore special care must be taken to ensure that the communication between local communities and other stakeholders be effective.

7.CULTURALLY RESPECTFUL: the local community in the Maputoland area have diverse cultures and a wise practice would be to ensure this cultural aspect is identified and integrated and promoted within the program so as to give them a sense of belonging. It will also encourage cultural tourism and job opportunities with knowledge that the people already have.

8. INFRASTRUCTURE OVERLOADING: beside the development of a commercial road route through this area there has not been any other plans for infrastructure development. The wise practice in this area especially with the developments of water pipe lines, power lines and telecommunication lines care must be taken as this area has been grossly neglected. To get this type of infrastructure into the area will firstly be costly because existing infrastructure is lacking and the local resources severely lacking and secondly will result in mass environmental degradation as most of this infrastructure will pass through areas that are largely conservation areas or potential conservation areas. A wise practice would be to research small-scale developments that will require small infrastructures in order to sustain developments.

9. CHANGING ATTITUDES: the Lubombo Spatial Development program is an initiative between three countries. A wise practice will be to gather information about all countries so that the coastal management program can integrate them. The developments must not seem to be a political strategy to form bonds between countries but must be seen to assist developments in all countries. It is therefore a wise practice to have a well-defined coastal zone.

10. METHODS: the coastal zone management program must be labour intensive involving local communities rather than capital intensive. The implementation of technological measures should be in line with the needs, skills, training and finances of the people involved, remembering the people have very little or no education and therefore methods used should be rooted in their efforts and ideals. It should not depend solely on knowledge, skills and technology of outside experts.

11. EMPLOYMENT: a wise practice is that the coastal management program must provide more employment to the local communities. If it brings in too many outside individuals to take up employment then there are going to be negative impacts. People are going to resist developments. It will be wise to tap into local resources first because they may not have academic qualification but they have the know how e.g. they can be tour guide to the area, builders of camps, cultural hosts etc. Development should occur around the resources of the locals so they can become part of the program. A wise practice therefore would be to consider the types of employment the local people want. It would be wise to develop individuals within the community with training and institutional outreach programs so they can develop from within and take up more advanced positions in the employment sector.

12. GENDER SENSITIVITY: a number of development projects have previously excluded women. Women in rural communities play a vital role within the community and therefore it is wise to include them in all phase of the coastal management program.

13. PILOTING: since this area is has very little or no development it would be wise to choose areas to pilot the coastal management program so as to evaluate and review it.

14. MONITORING: this part of coastal management must be practical. The monitoring of data collection, implementation and evaluation in this area must be practical as the area is rural, has limited resources and poor development.

15. AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION: as this area is mostly rural, with the increase of development, there will be an increased demand for fresh produce. Poor farming practices carried out by the local communities can result in salinisation of fresh water lakes due to increased irrigation, increased extraction from rivers can lead to change in ecosystems and increases in pollution. It would be wise to include in the coastal management program agricultural education.

16. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CARE EDUCATION: it would be a wise practice to inform local communities during the initial stage of coastal management development, of the consequences of development such as refuse, sewage, pollution, illness etc. so as to enable locals to make appropriate decisions when it comes to the development in their area.

17. VECTORAL DISEASES: this area has no infrastructure in terms of medical facilities. It would therefore be a wise practice to inform developers and investors about the types of vectoral diseases occurring in the area so they will be able to decide the type of development to invest in.

18. BENEFIT-SHARING: the benefits that come out of the coastal zone management program must benefit the local communities, developers and government structures. It is wise to ensure these benefits continue and are sustained even after the program ends.

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