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Article by: Tracy Hancock
Published: 04 Jun 2010
|User-friendly guide translates Act|
|Engineering and environ- mental consultant SSI has published a user-friendly guide to the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act No 24, of 2008, in association with the Department of Environmental Affairs, to make the Act accessible and applicable to coastal practitioners and interested parties concerned with specific details and applications.
‘A User-friendly Guide to the Integrated Coastal Management Act of South Africa’ is intended to promote the understanding of the Act without altering its meaning.
The guide, comprising 12 chapters, states: “The Acts of Parliament are, at best, difficult to read and comprehend and the National Environmental Management: ICM Act is no exception.”
These chapters discuss the interpretation, aims and application of the ICM Act, the coastal zone, boundaries of the coastal zone, estuaries, institutional arrangements, coastal management, protection of coastal resources, marine and coastal pollution control, appeals, enforcement of the Act, general powers and duties, as well as miscellaneous matters.
SSI believes that the guide should be read with the official gazetted version of the Act, including possible amendments, to ensure that full compliance is achieved, as well as a comprehensive understanding.
“This guide will form part of a number of publications that will be produced to facilitate the implementation of the Act. These range from the general Summary Guide to the ICM Act and specific practitioner’s guides that will focus on individual topics or sections in detail. For example, the Guide to the Production of Coastal Management Programmes, which covers Section 44 to Section 55 of the Act, or the Guide on Interpretation of the Movements in the High-Water Mark, which highlights Section 14 of the Act,” the guide states.
It explains that, to achieve sustainable coastal development, ICM promotes the use of defensible scientific inform-ation together with the principles of cooperative governance. Extensive public consultation and democratic decision-making are characterised by success ful ICM and this concept, high-lighted throughout the Act, is also ingrained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa No 108, of 1996.
The guide also points to coastal management in South Africa experiencing a number of paradigm shifts since the 1970s, each with different policy approaches and manage- ment practices. “This evolution of ICM has culminated in an Act of Parliament that recognises the ecological, social and economic interactions within the ocean and land interface,” reports the guide.