Civil Society Statement - CBD COP11, October 2012

 PRESS RELEASE, 9.10.2012

India’s Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Under Serious Threat from Developmental Projects
BNHS, National Coastal Protection Campaign, Dakshin Foundation, PondyCAN, Kalpavriksh, ICSF Trust, Greenpeace India
Marine biodiversity conservation remains seriously under-represented in India’s conservation efforts even though the Indian Ocean has amongst the richest biodiversity in the world. This is especially significant given that the entire coastal and marine stretch of the country is coming under unprecedented threats from ‘development’ projects. Urgent legal, policy, and institutional action is needed to conserve coastal and marine biodiversity, especially by empowering traditional coastal communities through recognizing tenurial rights and regulating the kind of development that is allowed in such areas.
An unprecedented scale of ‘development’ along the east and west coast of India is taking place; this includes ports, power plants, ship yards, coastal armouring, aquaculture, and so on. This spells doom for large tracts of inter-tidal and near-shore marine areas. These developments will make already vulnerable traditional and artisanal fishers more vulnerable, destroying or displacing livelihoods.
  • Prohibiting or regulating development projects in coastal and marine areas, avoiding any biodiversity-damaging and livelihood-displacing projects.
  • Empowering traditional coastal communities, especially through clear tenurial rights, to maintain their conservation-oriented traditional practices and to have a central voice in decisions affecting the coastal and marine areas;
  • Providing legal and policy backing to a range of conservation measures that promote community conserved areas and co-management, using laws such as the Environment Protection Act, Biodiversity Act and Forest Rights Act
For example, 15 proposed power plants (totalling 25GW), 6 captive ports and 6 maga shipyards are coming up in a small stretch of 150 km of coastal Maharashtra. This will expose the whole coast’s inter-tidal areas and adjoining waters under thermal pollution, directly affecting near shore biodiversity and fisheries.
Similarly, Andhra Pradesh is proposing 10 new ports, 15 new thermal power projects (eight of them in Krishnapatnam area in Nellore district), and several other power plants with undisclosed or uncertain locations. Additionally, Andhra Pradesh has 70 SEZs proposed in 15 districts, including a staggering 5 million acres in a coastal corridor that will include airports, sea ports, ship-breaking, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, information technology, apparel units and captive thermal power stations
None of the Environmental Impact Assessments of existing power plants takes into account the issues around thermal pollution of sea water; nor do existing policies make cumulative impact assessments mandatory. These are serious gaps, considering that immigration and emigration of fish and shellfish species can have significant impact of traditional fishing grounds, adversely affecting a large number of species with narrow range of temperature tolarance.
On the occasion of the CBD COP 11, India can announce significant steps to curtail this kind of reckless development, and to ensure the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. This will need at least the following:
One of the major reasons coastal communities not coming forward for formal conservation regimes is their highly restrictive and undemocratic nature. For example the legal ambiguities within the Wid Life (Protection) Act 1972 amendments of 2001, make the Conservation Reserve and Community Reserve concepts redundant or regresive. If such anomalies are removed, and laws that promote community based conservation measures are used, India’s coastal and marine areas could be more effectively protected against destructive development.
Overall, there is an urgent need for a clear Policy on Coastal and Marine Conservation and Livelihood Security, which keeps in mind the social, ecological, economic and political context, and secures the biodiversity of these areas through empowering traditional coastal communities and regulating developments in such areas.

Executive Summary: The Challenged Coast of India

 Executive Summary of The Challenged Coast.

Exec summary_challengedcoast.pdf183.95 KB

11June Chennai CZM Meeting

National Consultation on Impending Threat to the Coastal Zone, Chennai, 11 June 2007. A short report.


11Oct07: Delhi CZM Meeting

Members of NATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST CZM NOTIFICATION met at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on 11th October 2007. About fifty leaders, predominantly from the coastal states, representing fishing community, NGOs, CSOs and various other organizations participated in the meeting.

This file is a report of the meeting sent by Mr Harekrishna Debnath, Convener of NCACZMN - now renamed NCPC



Challenges to International Waters – Regional Assessments in a Global Perspective, 2006.

The Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) project is a holistic and globally comparable assessment of transboundary aquatic resources in the majority of the world’s international river basins and their adjacent seas, particularly in developing regions. A bottom-up and multidisciplinary approach was adopted that involved nearly 1500 natural and social scientists from around the world. The GIWA project provides strategic guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) by identifying priorities for remedial and mitigatory actions in international waters.

The present Final Report presents the major results and findings of the GIWA regional assessments. On a global scale, GIWA has confirmed that pressures from human activities have weakened the ability of aquatic ecosystems to perform essential functions, which is compromising human well-being and sustainable development. The complex interactions between mankind and aquatic resources were studied within four specific major concerns: freshwater shortage, pollution, overfishing and habitat modification. Global change is considered as a fifth concern which overarches the other four.


Chennai CRZ Consultation 19Aug09

Report by ICSF Team on the Chennai consultation held on 19 Aug 2009 on the CRZ and the Swaminathan Jul09 committee report 


Coastal Zone Management Notification ‘07: Better or Bitter Fare

The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests is planning to promulgate a new law titled the Coastal Zone Management Notification. This draft notification was obtained from informal sources by citizens groups working on issues of coastal environment and livelihood conservation. It is controversial and proposes to undo the existing Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 which citizen groups have fought hard to implement. This attempt to deflect from environmental regulatory frameworks through the CZM Notification is clear and will have serious social and environmental concerns. Is the proposed CZM Notification designed for better coastal management? What evidence exists to show that conservation and sustainable livelihoods are the objectives of this law? This paper examines the content and process behind this new law to reveal concerns with the intent of this law. 


Dossier on CZM actions (large file)

This dossier is a compilation of some of the activities that were taken up with respect to the draft coastal zone notification, especially the events that happened on 9th of August. The reports are organized state-wise.

The file size is about 17 Mb.
Right click and Save to download the file.



Comments on the CMZ Notification By V.Vivekanandan

The CMZ Notification was made available on the Ministry of Environment and Forests Website recently. Comments have been called for within 60 days of publication of the notification (1 May). Mr V.Vivekanandan, Advisor, SIFFS and member of the steering committee of TRINet has written a detailed commentary on the positives and negatives of the notification.