Integrated resource management

Integrated resource management as a concept recognises the need for a holistic approach to managing human use of resources in a sustainable way.

An increasing acceptance of integrated resource management has resulted in the development of integrated coastal management (1CM), which has been referred to by many specialists in the field as the best approach for the management of coastal resources. According to Sorensen (1997) the ICM concept has been around for more than 30 years. However, it was the Earth Summit in 1992 that created an international push for its adoption: 'Coastal states commit themselves to integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas and the marine environment under their national jurisdiction ...' (UNCED 1992, chapter 17.5).

Similar objectives are contained within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992): 'develop and elaborate appropriate and integrated plans for coastal zone management'. Since the Earth Summit, ICM has been accepted by many nations with coastal management programs and associated legislation, including the United States, United Kingdom, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Italy, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Pohnpei State (Federated States of Micronesia) (Cicin- Sain & Knecht 1998).

Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 (UNCED 1992) focuses on the protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas (including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas) and coastal areas, and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources. It recognises the need for new approaches to marine and coastal area management and development at the national, subregional, regional and global levels. As noted by Knecht and Cicin-Sain (1993), the UNCED 'Rio Declaration' sees the need for new approaches to coastal management that are integrated in content, and precautionary and anticipatory in ambit. The Rio Declaration (Section 17.5) spells out the need to 'inter alia: provide for an integrated policy and decision-making process, including all involved sectors, to promote compatibility and a balance of uses' (see Hildreth 1994, p. 106).

Following the Earth Summit, the Council of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the first World Coastal Conference (1993) adopted and produced guidelines for the integrated management of coastal resources: 'Integrated coastal zone management involves the comprehensive assessment, setting of objectives, planning and management of coastal systems and resources, taking into account traditional, cultural and historical perspectives and conflicting interests and uses; it is a continuous and evolutionary process for achieving sustainable development' (IPCC 1994, p. 40).

Coastal management around the globe is moving to a more integrated approach that recognises the links between activities in coastal lands and waters. There have been international attempts to develop guidelines for ICM, stressing the importance of strengthening and harmonising cross- sectoral management. While there are various approaches towards achieving ICM, most agree that horizontal and vertical integration and coordination must be part of any ICM attempt.

A key work on the need for integrating ocean and coastal management was produced by Cicin-Sain and Knecht (1998). They pointed out that traditional ocean management issues related to activities such as maritime boundaries, freedom of navigation, and conservation of highly migratory species. They noted that, with the increased use of the ocean by activities such as mariculture and ocean mining, a new approach to ocean management which stresses the links between land, coast and ocean systems has been necessary. Cicin-Sain and Knecht (1998, p. 18) suggested that the rationale for an integrated approach is twofold. First, it examines the effects of ocean and coastal use, as well as activities further inland, on ocean and coastal environments; and second, it examines the effects that ocean and coastal users can have on one another. They defined the dimensions of integration as:

• intergovernmental integration/vertical integration among national, provincial and local governments

• intersectoral integration/horizontal integration – integration among government agencies in different sectors, and among different marine and coastal sectors (industries, conservation, recreation, tourism, beach protection), and integration between coastal and marine sectors and land-based sectors

• spatial integration – integration between the land, ocean and coastal zone

• science-management integration – among different disciplines, and among scientists and managers

• international integration – integration among nations when needed.

In Australia, at the local government level, there has been a growing acceptance of the need for the development of 'Local Agenda 21' policies geared toward sustainable development and the adoption of integrated local area management strategies. This has been highlighted in coastal areas, where marine pollution has required an integrated approach to catchment management and environmental protection regulations. There has also been a recognition of problems associated with the fragmentation of decision-making between the three levels of government in Australia. A further impetus for ICM has been the signing of memoranda of agreement between all three levels of government in order to implement various aspects of the national coastal action plan under the Commonwealth's Coastal Policy.

 
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