The award is granted by the World Future Council, an international policy research organisation that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. Each year the council chooses one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.
This year’s award is dedicated to exemplary coastal and ocean policies and for this year’s theme, the council is partnering with the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with support from the Okeanos Foundation.
Thirty one outstanding policies from 22 countries and regions were nominated on the long-list in June, with the nominated policies ranging from national ocean policies, marine protected area programmes and integrated coastal zone management plans, to policies regulating fisheries, trade in marine products, marine litter and land-sea interactions.
“As part of a comprehensive evaluation process under way, South Africa’s ICM Act has been placed on the short-list, comprising six policies from five different countries, these will be further scrutinised by a jury that will decide on the winners,” said the department.
The winning policies are expected to be announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September and celebrated at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India in October.
In 1992, the department embarked on a process to change the way South Africa’s coast was managed from an ad hoc and fragmented approached to an inclusive and integrated approach.
Negotiations with all coastal stakeholders were initiated to agree on a process that would eventually culminate in South Africa’s first integrated coastal management policy.
“The programme involved extensive consultations with stakeholders to identify specific coastal management issues in each of the 13 coastal regions, and to formulate a vision for South Africa's coast, the Green Paper, Draft White Paper and finally the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa (2000) were endorsed by stakeholders and Cabinet.”
The White Paper includes a vision, a set of coastal management principles, goals and objectives and an Action Plan.
As part of the institutional and legal reform flowing from the Action Plan, South Africa promulgated the National Environmental: Integrated Coastal Management Act (No. 24 of 2008) that entered into force in December 2009.
It is the first legal instrument of its kind in South Africa, dedicated to managing the country’s coastline in an integrated fashion and ensuring the sustainable use of the coast's natural resources.
The objectives of the Act are to determine the coastal zone of South Africa; provide for the coordinated and integrated management of the coastal zone by all spheres of government in accordance with the principles of co-operative governance; preserve, protect, extend and enhance the status of coastal public property as being held in trust by the State on behalf of all South Africans, including future generations; secure equitable access to the opportunities and benefits of coastal public property; and give effect to South Africa's obligations in terms of international law regarding coastal management and the marine environment.
Deputy Director-General: Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Monde Mayekiso said it was rewarding to be shortlisted. “It means a lot to South Africa and we eagerly await the announcement of the winners,” he said, while also congratulating the other four countries on their achievement.