Governance of the ICZM Process

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Vital, Essential and Desirable (VED)

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

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 governance architectures, and each situation will require a locally tailored approach, however the following model reflects the above VED scale.

1. Steering Group or Committee

Comprising: representatives of the core political and financial stakeholders in the ICZM Process. Function: to ensure the smooth running of the project; to support and facilitate implementation; to ensure political legitimacy, and provide financial accountability. Membership: representatives of the funding bodies, national government, the higher-level competent local administration(s).

2. Technical Group

Comprising: technical staff or representatives of organisations and institutions with knowledge, information and data resources for the 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.

3. Consultative Group

Comprising: representatives of stakeholder organisations, smaller local administrations, important sectors, local opinion formers, and key individuals in the process not included elsewhere. 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, The Technical and Consultative Groups (2 & 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’s) to specify remit, membership, frequency of meeting, meeting procedures etc.

Adoption of the strategy, plan or programme – the Steering Group should agree the route and appropriate national or regional body or bodies to formally adopt the document. The strategy, plan or programme maybe 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 or require a formal endorsement.

Objective – to ensure the plan making process is representative, well informed and transparent, and ensure the strategy, plan or programme’s legitimacy and long-term sustainability.

It is important to note that the governance structures required for the preparation of the strategy, plan or programme will differ from those required for long-term implementation.

Techniques & Tools

Model Terms of Reference (ToR’s) will be made available. However, the scale and complexity of the governance structure should be consistent with the staff and logistical resources available to support it.

Careful consideration should be given at an early stage to the use of supporting IT technologies. Whilst their use has revolutionised our ability to see and understand our environment, their use should not divert resources from the social and political process of ICZM. This simple check list raises some of the practical issues to consider in the selection and application of such support technologies.