Establishing the ICZM Coordination Mechanism

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This article explores more in detail one of the steps of the Roadmap towards Coastal Sustainability, which provides a methodological framework for implementing the Protocol of the Barcelona Convention on ICZM for the Mediterranean Region. The establishment of ICZM consists of several steps; the step under consideration addresses the coordination mechanism.

Definition of governance

Governance could be defined as "...the formal and informal arrangements, institutions, and mores that structure: how resources or an environment are utilized, how problems and opportunities are evaluated and analyzed, what behavior is deemed acceptable or forbidden, and what rules and sanctions are applied to affect the pattern of use." (Mahon, R. et al. A governance perspective on the large marine ecosystem. Marine Policy. 2008).

The ICZM coordination mechanism

The objective of establishing the coordination mechanism, is to ensure that the ICZM Process is representative for all relevant stakeholders, based on the governance principles, well informed and transparent, and ensures the strategy, plan or programme’s legitimacy and long-term sustainability.

There are three important, and very distinct, functions that should be clearly separated within any ICZM coordination mechanism.

The three functions can be seen on the Vital, Essential and Desirable (VED) scale:

  1. Vital: political legitimacy and accountability, financial management.
  2. Essential: technical/operational guidance and support.
  3. Desirable: local representation and consultation.

There are various coordination architectures, and each situation will require a locally tailored approach. The following model illustrates the above VED scale.

Steering Group or Committee

Composition: representatives of the core political and financial stakeholders in the ICZM Process. Representatives of the funding bodies, national government, higher-level competent local administration(s).

Function: to ensure the smooth running of the Process; to support and facilitate implementation; to ensure political legitimacy, and provide financial accountability.

Technical Group

Composition: technical staff or representatives of organisations and institutions with knowledge, information and data resources for the strategy or plan area and its key issues, along with logistical and IT support.

Function: to provide the best available technical and logistical support to the ICZM Process.

Consultative Group

Composition: representatives of stakeholder organisations, administrations, important sectors, opinion formers, and key individuals in the process not included elsewhere. The final composition of the group is defined after the stakeholder analysis.

Function: to reflect the opinions and expertise of the community, and to act as a consultative body at all stages of the Process.

The Steering Group or Committee (1) requires timetabled meetings, while the Technical and Consultative Groups (2 and 3) can be more flexible and may be served through mailing lists, virtual media, etc. Each group will require its own Terms of Reference (ToR) to specify remit, membership, frequency of meeting, meeting procedures, etc.

When the ICZM plan, strategy or programme are agreed as an output of the ICZM Process, the Steering Group should specify the route and appropriate national or regional body or bodies to formally adopt the document. The strategy, plan or programme may be adopted by one or more Ministries or by local authorities. It may also receive joint endorsement from a vertical combination of both. Sponsoring organisations may also be asked to issue a formal endorsement. It is important to note that the coordination structure required for the preparation of a plan, strategy or programme may differ from those required for long-term implementation.

Techniques & Tools

Examples of coordination mechanisms and possible ToR are provided here[1][2][3]. It is to be noted that the scale and complexity of the governance structure should be consistent with the staff and logistical resources available to support it.

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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