Facing the Challenge of Rapid Socio-Political Change and Its Environmental Consequences for the Coastal Zone in Southern Africa: An Abridged Paper

by Bruce C. Glavovic, Dept of Environment Affairs, South Africa,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The coastal zone of southern Africa is an asset of inestimable value. But the finite resources of this coast are subject to the demands of a rapidly growing population. Moreover much of the region has been subject to protracted conflict which has severely hampered coastal zone management (CZM) efforts. Notwithstanding progress made in promoting sound (CZM) in South Africa over the last decade, recent social and political developments are generating unprecedented challenges for coastal managers. These developments are transforming the fabric of our society, and give rise to profound environmental consequences. As the process of democratisation takes root, and all people are afforded the opportunity to participate in decision-making, competition for the limited but highly valued resources of our coast will rise precipitously. There is thus an urgent and compelling need to promote sustainable economic development, while at the same time maintaining, and where necessary restoring, a healthy coastal environment. In response to this need, a Coastal Action Strategy (COAST) has been initiated in South Africa. COAST aims to develop a dynamic planning framework, focussing on the interrelationships between critical environmental parameters and the projected needs of the population. COAST has considerable potential for application in other southern African countries and could provide a planning framework that ensures a healthy and productive coastal environment for the region.

Subject Headings: Light rail transit | Political factors | Social factors | Developing countries | Urban and regional development | Coastal management | Coastal processes | Economic factors | Africa | South Africa

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