Defining the governance context in a ICZM

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The objective of this task is to define the coastal governance baseline by informing stakeholders on the development of the strategy, plan or programme; by providing feedback into complementary plans and programmes; and by identifying policy and institutional gaps.

As Olsen et al. noted, “...governance (...) addresses the values, policies, laws and institutions by which a set of issues are addressed. It probes the fundamental goals and the institutional processes and structures that are the basis for planning and decision making.” (Olsen, S.B., G.G. Page and E. Ochoa, 2009. The Analysis of Governance Responses to Ecosystem Change: A Handbook for Assembling a Baseline. LOICZ reports & Studies No. 34. GKSS Research Centre. Geesthacht.) The "mapping" of the many relevant institutions, along with their policies and functions, is an essential first step in defining the operating context of the ICZM Process. A thorough understanding of key institutional, legal and policy drivers at international, national and local scales is key to ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of a strategy, plan or programme.

Having the above in mind, a stakeholder analysis should be performed in order to identify and assess the importance of key people, groups of people, or institutions that may have significant influence on the success of the ICZM Process. It is an act of identifying the individuals or groups that are likely to affect or be affected by the actions proposed in the ICZM Process, and sorting them according to their impact on the action and the impact the action will have on them. It is also used to anticipate the kind of influence, positive or negative, these groups will have in the process. It is important to identify their real competencies/roles and capacities they have related to the management of the coastal zone. It should also identify the relationships (e.g. cross-cutting responsibilities, missing and overlapping responsibilities, rights, levels of conflict) within and among different stakeholders.

Relevant institutions at the national scale are the relevant government ministries or agencies. Coastal zone management has generally been led from the ministry responsible for environment. However, the influence of other sectoral ministries or agencies - for example spatial planning, agriculture, water, fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, economic development, maritime affairs, etc. - on the future of a coastal zone will be of equal or even greater significance.

The spatial boundaries of administrations and their relevant functions should also be mapped. An understanding of relevant private, scientific and non-governmental organisations will also be essential. The potential role of such organisations as a service provider through, for example mapping, data or meeting space, as a client for the strategy, plan or programme outputs, as a potential facilitator or intermediary with key groups, or even as potential partners should be well understood.

Similarly, the policy context will be equally broad, ranging from spatial plans to economic development strategies and sectoral plans and policies for water, energy, transport, waste, agriculture, etc. The key relevant plans, programmes and policies, along with the organisations responsible for them, must be identified.

As important as the existence and importance of institutions, policies and programmes is an understanding of their effectiveness, their influence, or in some cases, their absence. Mapping should therefore encompass any weaknesses and gaps.

Finally, the legal context for ICZM interventions should be defined. In principle, it is at the national level where major legal acts affecting coastal development are being adopted. All ICZM relevant laws and regulations should be identified and their impacts on the respective coastal area briefly assessed. In addition, there may exist regulation adopted at lower, regional or municipal, administrative level. It should be identified and analysed in the same manner as described above.

Techniques & Tools

  • Stakeholder analysis will be carried out in the Establishment stage, but its results will be fully utilised in the subsequent stages of the ICZM Process. The Process should allow for the iterative evolution of the analysis as more stakeholders become involved.
  • Identification of legislation, policies and programmes: desk-based documentary analysis supplemented by interviews early in the Process.
  • Institutional and functional analysis: various tools are available, such as mapping and clustering. However, there is no straightforward technique for identifying the “political” sensitivity by those managing the Process. Institutions should be considered according to their:
    • Remit, both functionally and spatially;
    • Relevance to both the coastal zone and its problems and issues;
    • Resources and skills, including technical resources, personnel, data and information;
    • Influence, including both legal and political;
    • Role in relation to the ICZM Process as service provider, client, facilitator or potential partner.

See also


This article has been drafted by PAP/RAC
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

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