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World Bank & ICZM Project

GoI has developed a vision for the long-term management of the coastal and marine areas, as articulated in the 2005 National Environment Policy, and the Swaminathan Committee report. The vision has two parts:-
(a) Reforming the regulatory framework for integrated management of coastal and marine areas; and
(b) Developing the institutional arrangements, capacity and adequate knowledge systems to enable the desired shift to ICZM approaches.

The GoI has already initiated steps to implement both parts of this vision, and has requested Bank support for the second part. It should be emphasized that this reform process has been deliberated and articulated over the last five years. Only after the GoI decided to initiate implementation of the reform program, was the Bank’s support requested. ICZM, as well as capacity and knowledge building for such management are international best practices to which the Bank subscribes, and which it promotes through its projects around the world. The shift from regulation to management of natural resources; decentralized management, decision-making and planning processes that involve all relevant stakeholders; institutional development for fostering intersectoral collaboration in conservation of natural and economic resources, which are other parts of the GoI reform program – are all best practices, that the Bank supports.

Integrated management of the coastal and marine areas in general and the project in particular will have long lasting benefits. Development of economic infrastructure in the coastal zone, along with protection of ecological and cultural landscapes and traditional rights is crucial to India’s growth and development. Balanced, sustainable and rapid economic growth is also the fulcrum for poverty reduction. The project, and the reforms it supports, will play a vital role in reducing the vulnerability of coastal populations to current variability and disasters, both of which are expected to increase due to climate change effects.

The project will support capacity building for effective coastal zone management at the national level and in three pilot states. Once the initial demonstration is complete, the initiatives will be replicated for long-term gains and wider impacts, both at the national level and for the remaining states.

The Bank’s involvement is significant for the GoI. By bringing in international expertise, sharing knowledge on coastal zone management issues among India and other countries, and supporting demonstration of ICZM processes and benefits, this project will help to ensure that the GoI’s long term reform agenda has strong institutional and capacity underpinnings, tested experience in implementation, and relevant advanced knowledge needed for integrated planning.

The project’s contribution to sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in India is consistent with the country’s goal of sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. It is also consistent with the national objective to devolve decision-making to the coastal states and local governments by supporting their capacity. Additionally, the project will contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability and specifically to meeting.

The project is consistent with and conforms to the India Country Strategy (CAS) of the Bank. The India CAS, 2009-12, recognizes that while India needs to grow to reduce poverty and create employment, it has an opportunity to do so in a way that is sustainable and preserves the country’s natural heritage. The project is consistent with the CAS pillars, namely rapid and inclusive growth, sustainable development, and service delivery, with a cross-cutting focus on improving the effectiveness of public spending and achieving results. Further, the project addresses the specific provisions in the CAS related to “sound environmental management and sustainable use of natural resources”, “impacts due to rising sea levels”, and “challenge of climate change”. The Strategy Outcome matrix of the CAS clearly identifies lending to support coastal zone management and biodiversity conservation, as a priority.

The CAS identifies the central government as a strong counterpart. The expectation is that the Bank will add value to the development programs in India by piloting new approaches. Moreover, the Bank is expected to play a key role in addressing difficult issues, such as how to spur development in low-income states and forge the institutions needed to help India transition into a middle-income country. The project is consistent with these expectations as set out in the CAS.