TAMIL NADU

Coastal management should enhance livelihood options: experts

Sunita Narain, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment, speaking at the South Asian Convention on Coastal Management held in Puducherry on Monday. Chetan B. Sanghi, Chief Secretary of Puducherry and Ibrahim Naeem (extreme right), Director of SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre, Maldives, are also seen in the picture._ Photo: S. S. Kumar

Sunita Narain, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment, speaking at the South Asian Convention on Coastal Management held in Puducherry on Monday. Chetan B. Sanghi, Chief Secretary of Puducherry and Ibrahim Naeem (extreme right), Director of SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre, Maldives, are also seen in the picture._ Photo: S. S. Kumar  

Puducherry citizens inspired to reclaim its beaches: Chief Secretary

In the environment movement, more time is being spent on identifying the problems and not enough on governance and improving the decision making, said Sunita Narain, Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment (India). Now, everyone whether they are on the side of government or the civil society know about the threats people face. Hence it is time for both the sides to work hand in hand for better decision making, she said. The director was addressing the South Asian Convention on Coastal Management here on Monday.

The government is no longer adversarial to the civil societies, so now it is a question of how to bring about a balance between progress and the environment in coastal management. It is also critical that the two sides work together to build capacity for decision makers, she added.

Managing coasts

Speaking at the function, Deputy Director General of the CSE, Chandra Bhushan said that in terms of coastal management, all the countries in the South East Asian region – India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh specifically – all manage their coasts differently.

Even the demarcation of the coastal zone varies from country to country and right now it is very difficult to point out which country is doing an excellent job and which one is not.

In the scheme of things for coastal zone management, it is necessary to enhance and not compromise on livelihood. It is also important to regulate, integrate and manage coastal development, he said.

Addressing some of the issues faced by the people of Puducherry, Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi said the pristine coastal area of Puducherry has inspired many people to reclaim the beach.

They are looking at various ways and means to do it. There are others who want to ensure that the sand at the port mouth should be dredged effectively to enable the fisherfolk to bring their catch easily to the shore.

Still there are many who request to put back the port project back on its rails, so that there will be overall development.

In the government, the employees are not particular about deadlines and there is a pressure on delivery, so there is very little time to see the best practices that can be employed in each case.

Role of civil societies

This is where the civil societies play a role. The government is willing to hear suggestions to save the ecosystem, he said.

Director of the SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (Maldives) Ibrahim Naeem said since the coastal area is unique and there are a number of challenges including the large population in the South Asian region, over exploitation of resources, poverty caused by depleting resources and lack of alternate livelihood.

He also emphasised that it is important that all levels of government and stakeholders be involved in the decision making process.

What is even more important is benefit sharing, where those who are affected by the conservation efforts should be compensated in some way or the other.

For example, if a livelihood is lost, alternate livelihoods should be provided, he said. The two day conference is organized by the CSE in association with PondyCAN.

Stakeholders from various countries in the South Asian region including Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Maldives will be speaking on a variety of topics including the definition of coastal zones, regulation of the zones, livelihood and habitat protection, climate change vulnerability and the way ahead for South Asia together.

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