Trinidad and Tobago has a collective coastline length of 704 km and the country’s jurisdictional sovereignty and responsibility extends beyond the terrestrial into the marine through its archipelagic waters, territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In total, the areal extent of these encompasses 77,502 km2 of waters surrounding the islands. Trinidad and Tobago therefore has a land to sea ratio of about 1:15 that is ﬁfteen times more sea space than land space, which indicates the importance of the marine and coastal sphere to the country.
One of the troubling aspects of coastal zone management is the absence of a uniform deﬁnition as to what constitutes a coastal zone. In Trinidad and Tobago, the legislations do not provide a deﬁnition for the coastal zone, and our citizens have different perceptions of what is the coastal zone. For the purpose of the ICZM policy, the coastal zone is deﬁned as the geographical area covering both the maritime and the terrestrial parts of the shore, including off-shore islands, salt-water ponds and wetlands in contact with the sea. The coastal zone of Trinidad and Tobago shall mean all areas of sea extending to the limit of the (EEZ) and includes the shoreline and coastal lands, which are inland areas above the high water mark that inﬂuence the quality or composition of coastal waters, or are inﬂuenced in some way by their proximity to coastal waters.
The Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is a partnership and consensus-building exercise that brings together all sectors to co-ordinate and integrate activities on the coast so as to achieve sustainable management of our coastal resources. It adopts the concept of co-management, where stakeholders share aspects of governance with the state.
In keeping with the participatory nature of ICZM, the ICZM Steering Committee held nineteen (19) pre-policy consultations with stakeholders including government agencies, the media, the energy sector and the business sector and coastal communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago. One goal of these nation-wide consultations was to determine issues stakeholders believed should be addressed by an ICZM policy and the interventions they recommend to address them.
The Steering Committee worked closely with Local Government bodies to organize and conduct the consultations. The Local Government bodies provided support in certain logistical aspects e.g. provision of venues, informing and mobilizing stakeholders to enable their participation in the consultations.
Dialogue emanating out of the consultations was successful in revealing a host of issues that affect coastal areas and interest groups around Trinidad and Tobago.
The issues most frequently voiced during the consultations were:
“In T&T, 70% of the population and almost 80% of all socio-economic activities are located along the coast. “
Click the link below to view TTT’s NOW morning television programme interview with Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning & Development Mr. Sterling Chadee (Chair, ICZM Inter-Ministerial Committee) and Dr Rahanna Juman, Deputy Director, Institute of Marine Affairs (Deputy Chair, ICZM Inter-Ministerial Committee) talk about the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (IZCM) Policy Framework and its importance…