Historically, the coastal zone has been a major focus for the development of human Society. The coastal and marine ecosystems being highly productive attract human settlement and economic activities. Coastal zone ecosystem is important for biological and economic productivity, storm protection, erosion control and most importantly it provides a host of ecosystem services which are crucial for human wellbeing. Despite their ecological richness and the contribution to national economy, the coastal and marine areas have not received adequate protection, and are under stress. Rapid urban-industrialization, maritime transport, marine fishing, tourism, coastal and sea bed mining, offshore oil and natural gas production and aquaculture have led to a significant increase in demand for infrastructure, resulting in the over-exploitation of natural resources. Such rapid depletion and degradation, unless arrested, will impact the livelihood, health and wellbeing of the coastal population; affecting in turn prospects for India‘s sustained economic growth. Sustainable management of coastal and marine resources is essential for long term economic growth and to ensure the equilibrium between economic development and the protection of the environment. In this context Ministry of Forest & Environment, Government of India, the World Bank have come forward with ICZM approach to coordinate activities of various sectors and resource users for the sustainable management and wise use of coastal resources maintaining the integrity of coastal ecosystem.
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a process for the management of the coast using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability, regarding all aspects of the coastal zone, including geographical and political boundaries. This concept of ICZM was coined in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a planning and management process which aims to balance multiple human activities and demands on coastal space and resources with the protection of dynamic and vulnerable coastal systems and the maintenance of the functions and services which they provide (Humphrey and Burbridge).
On a pilot basis ICZM project is implemented for the first time in India in three States i.e. Odisha, West Bengal & Gujarat. The ICZM frame work is a paradigm shift from the traditional approach of sectoral management of the coastal resources to a comprehensive, integrated approach for better governance and management. For effective management and implementation of all project activities and coordination with 10 PEAs of ICZM Project Odisha, a society namely “Integrated Coastal Zone Management Society, Odisha” has been registered to function as State Project Management Unit (SPMU). The duration of the project is for a period of 5 years starting from September, 2010. The Department of Forest & Environment, Government of Odisha is the Nodal Department for implementation of this five year project in Odisha which has been extended for another 2 years by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India till December 2017. The SPMU is set up and the ICZM Project office is functioning from Bhubaneswar. The total budget outlay of the project is Rs227. 64 crores. This budget outlay has now been revised up to Rs334.86 crore. Out of this budget 10% is State’s contribution. The funds are being received from the Ministry of Environment and Forest Government of India in form of grant for the project. For smooth implementation of the project a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary Odisha is constituted. A Governing Body is also constituted under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Forest & Environment. The ICZM (O) project has been conceived with an objective to facilitate the development and implementation of an integrated management strategy for the coastal zone, by adopting a broad perspective and a multi-sectoral approach, to ensure wise use of coastal resources, perpetual maintenance of high level of biodiversity , conservation of critical habitats and to maintain their ecological integrity including sustainable coastal fishery, protection from extreme weather events, nature based tourism, and infrastructure development.
The ICZM project for Odisha is formulated based on multidisciplinary and interactive framework to promote sustainable management of coastal zones through a wide consultative process to make it as inclusive as possible. Considering the dynamic nature of coastal ecosystem an adaptive approach for formulation of the project is followed. A series of grass root level consultation workshops are being organized to get the inputs from the stakeholders as participation of all stakeholders in achieving the goals is one of the key elements of the project. To make it more accessible to the stake holders a toll free number: 1800-345-6729 and a dedicated website www.iczmpodisha.org with an interactive grievance redress link is launched by the SPMU.
The major thrust of the project is to coordinate the initiatives of various coastal economic sectors towards long term optimal socio-economic outcomes, ICZM compliant coastal infrastructures including resolution of sectoral conflicts and mediating beneficial trade-offs. Integrated in this way, a multi-sectoral approach would jointly guide the activities of the key economic sectors under an effective coastal planning and management system.
The project on long-term balances environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics and would facilitate integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space through a comprehensive ICZM Plan. The ICZM plan would be extremely useful for management of natural resources as well as development of the infrastructure in coastal zone.
The project would benefit the coastal population of the state. About 4 lakhs people from 235 coastal villages of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda and Ganjam would be directly benefitted from the project activities. Direct employment opportunity for the coastal fisher folks would be created through eco-tourism activities. Capacity building and empowerment of 600 Self Help Groups from 60 villages would be carried out through the project.
ICZM is a continuous and iterative process designed to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. ICZM provides a means to accept and bring together different objectives for coastal areas in such an order that multiple social, economic, cultural and environmental goals can be achieved Planning for ICZM is not simply integrating environment into sectoral planning. ICZM is an integrated governance process in which all stakeholders associated and affected with natural and coastal resources work together to fully ensemble the societal objectives for both present and future generations.