The National Coastal Management Programme of South Africa


Title: The National Coastal Management Programme of South Africa
Publication Date:
January 01, 2014
Pages: 130

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Department of Environmental Affairs (2014). The National Coastal Management Programme of South Africa. Report by South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs. pp 130.

This document presents South Africa’s National Coastal Management Programme (NCMP) under the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Ac t (Act No. 24 of 2008) (ICM Act) for the period 2013 to 2017.


Coastal zones throughout the world have historically been among the most heavily exploited areas because of their rich resources. In coastal countries today, an estimated half of the total population live in coastal zones, and migration from inland areas to the coast is increasing. Not surprisingly, there is also a rising conflict between the need for immediate consumption or use of coastal resources and the need to ensure the long - term supply of those resources. The enjoyment of the coastal zone by a wide variety of users and the view of the coast as a national asset and legacy for future generations is of the utmost importance for the promotion of its current and future sustainable use.


South Africa’s coastal environment is a rich and diverse national asset, providing important economic and social opportunities for the human population. The estimated total contribution of coastal resources (without regulatory services) to the South African economy is in the order of some R 57 billion (US$5.7 billion). The direct economic benefits from coastal resources in South Africa are estimated to be approximately 35% of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) (referring to the "White Paper"). Direct economic benefits include the marine fishing industry, port and harbour development and attractive lifestyles, and recreational and tourism opportunities offered by a coastal location. Furthermore, the coast provides indirect economic benefits such as the erosion control provided by coastal features such as dunes and high cliffs which protect built and natural features along the coast (including roads, buildings and farmlands) from the damaging effects of waves and wind, and it allows waste assimilation, detoxification and recycling through coastal wetlands, forests and grasslands. These indirect benefits account for an additional 28% of the country’s GDP.


The ICM Act has been promulgated to establish the statutory requirements for integrated coastal and estuarine management in South Africa. The Act also prescribes the inclusion of norms, standards and policies for further elaboration and guidance on coastal management provisions within legislation and specific scenarios and/or issues. One of the many reasons for the adoption of this form of management is to promote the conservation of the coastal environment, and to maintain the natural character of coastal landscapes.


Among the myriad of implementation tools that are available within the ICM Act, Coastal Management Programmes (CMPs) are arguably the most powerful integrating instruments in an ICM toolbox. A CMP is a policy directive for the management of the coastal zone, inclusive of strategies and plans for the effective implementation of the ICM Act that will enable organs of state to plan accordingly, to set a course for the environmental future of a nation by addressing the resolution of current management problems and user-conflicts (due to the wide variety of activities and uses of the coast), as well as the long-term development and management of the coastline. CMPs also play the vital role of bringing together the various spheres and sectors of government, private sector activities and community activities on the coast for the effective implementation of ICM over a projected period of time. This is achieved by ensuring that the development and use of natural resources in the coastal zone is done with the best interests of the public and economy, while being ecologically sustainable.

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