Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan

What is the Integrated Coastal Management Planning and Why is it Important?
The coastline of Barbados is central to the lives of all Barbadians. It features an environment of tremendous intrinsic and extrinsic value in terms of its natural and human assets and is under pressure because of the demands on these resources. Management of this environment is a complex task, requiring the involvement of many organizations and individuals, requiring action at the local, national, and even regional and global scales.

In Barbados, like many other parts of the world, the idea of “integrated coastal management” (ICM) is considered be the way forward. This process goes beyond the traditional approach to planning and management activities on an individual basis. Instead the aim is to focus on the synergistic effects of all coastal activities to seek a desirable outcomes. Sustainable use, with environmental considerations underlying decision making in all sectors of activity, provides the basis for this type of management. It is geared towards holistically dealing with the coastal environment – coastal land, the foreshore, and inshore – and being forward looking, as well as trying to resolve problems associated with current coastal use.

It is within this context that the Government of Barbados, facilitated by the Coastal Zone Management Unit, developed an Integrated Coastal Mangement Plan (ICMP) for the island as part of the Feasibility and Pre-Investment Coastal Conservation Study and Coastal Conservation Programme projects.

The Structure of the Coastal Management Plan for Barbados
The Integrated Coastal Management Plan for Barbados is divided into three volumes:
Content of the Coastal Management Plan
The ICMP is divided into five parts:
PART A – Background
Introduction to the section of coastline including descriptions of the natural resources, socio-economic characteristics, uses and the framework for management.
PART B – Identification of Priorities
Objectives for coastal management as well as descriptions and analysis of the issues to be addressed through the Plan.
PART C – General Guidance
Guidance on general themes relevant to the entire area of the Plan with sections on current status in Plan area, key issues, management guidance and action briefs.
PART D – Sub-Area Guidance
Action Brief for each Sub-Area tabulating issues and likely implementation difficulties, recommended actions, responsible agencies, time-frame and links to the relevant government policy.
PART E – Implementation Needs
Summary of key requirements for implementation of the ICM Plan.
Geographic Scope of the Coastal Management Plan
For a small island such as Barbados, activies occurring anywhere on land can have an impact on the coast and as a result are a consideration for ICM. However the focus of the CZMU in relation to development control is within a legally defined Coastal Zone Management Area (CZMA). The CZMA is not a zone in which all development is prohibited but rather one in which planning permission may only be granted if proposals are consistent with the policies set out in the ICMP.

The CZMA extends along the entire coastline of Barbados, and allows the CZMU to influence the many of the main activities and uses which affect the coastal environment. The jurisdiction defined by the CZMA works in tandem with other island wide policies and programmes such as the Physical Development Plan (PDP) and by necessity will be linked with any future ocean governance policies developed for Barbados' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The boundaries of the CZMA have been defined as follows:

  • Landward (Caribbean Coast): The first coastal through road which has traditionally been used as the boundary when considering coastal development applications, or the limit of the predicted 100 year storm surge flooding, whichever is further inland.
  • Landward (Atlantic Coast): A combination of geophysical, ecological and biodiversity-related considerations define the landward boundary for this section of the coastline, such as landslide suceptibility, coastal habitat types and the presence of native and endemic species.
  • Seaward: The 100 meter isobath (water depth contour) or 200 meters seaward of the outer edge of the bank reef, whichever is further seaward. This includes the critical sand reserves and the reef environment which produce them, as well as the coastal waters which are directly influenced by terrestrial discharge.
The extent of these boundaries can be seen in the figure below.In order to take account of the different physical environments, land use characteristics, pressures and demands (and hence different management priorities and policies) of different parts of the coastline, the CZMA was divided into eight major Sub-Areas running counter-clockwise from the south-east coast to the south coast of the island. The different areas feature different setback requirements for development related to their natural characteristics, physical environment and other criteria.