UNEP's Guiding Principles for Coastal Reconstruction

Having participated in the 17 February, 2005 UNEP meeting on Coastal Zone Rehabilitation and Management in Regions Affected by Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters, we endorse the following Guiding Principles for affected nations and supporting international institutions for post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction.

  • Overarching Principle 1 - Reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural hazards by establishing a regional early warning system, and applying construction setbacks, greenbelts and other no-build areas in each nation, founded on a science-based mapped "reference line".

    Using concepts of Integrated Coastal Management, including public engagement in local decision-making, employ a rapid assessment and zoning and planning process to:

  • Principle 2 - Promote early resettlement with provision for safe housing; debris clearance; potable water, sanitation and drainage services and access to sustainable livelihood options.

  • Principle 3 - Enhance the ability of the natural system to act as a Bioshield to protect people and their livelihoods by conserving, managing and restoring wetlands, mangroves, spawning areas, seagrass beds and coral reefs; and by seeking alternative sustainable sources of building materials, with the aim of keeping coastal sand, coral, mangroves and rock in place.

  • Principle 4 - Promote design that is cost-effective, appropriate and consistent with best practice and placement of infrastructure away from hazard and resource areas, favoring innovative and soft engineering solutions to coastal erosion control and employing standardized service systems for potable water, wastewater and drainage.

  • Principle 5 - Respect traditional public access and uses of the shoreline, and protect religious and cultural sites.

  • Principle 6 - Adopt ecosystem based management measures and promote sustainable fishery management in overfished areas, and encourage low impact aquaculture.

  • Principle 7. Promote sustainable tourism that respects set back lines and carrying capacity, benefits local communities and applies adequate management practices.

    Process Measures: How things are done is often as important as what is done. Local knowledge and insights are important to successful planning and decision-making, and local citizens must be engaged in the planning and decision making process at each stage. National governments must be able to measure progress and disseminate results.

  • Principle 8 - Secure commitments from governments and international organizations to abide by these Principles and build on and strengthen existing institutional arrangements where possible.

  • Principle 9 - Ensure public participation through capacity building and the effective utilisation of all means of communication to achieve outcomes that meet the needs and realities of each situation.

  • Principle 10 - Make full use of tools such as Strategic Environmnental Assessment, spatial planning and Environmental Impact Assessment, to identify trade offs and options for a sustainable future.

  • Principle 11 - Develop mechanisms and tools to monitor and periodically communicate the outcomes of the reconstruction through indicators that reflect socio-economic change and ecosystem health.

  • Principle 12 - Widely disseminate good practices and lessons learned as they emerge.
Source: UNEP Global Programme of Action (UNEP-GPA)

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