Coastal Zone Management: Resolving Climate Change Issues Through a Statutory Framework

Kalpana S. Murari


The coastline of India is part of its valuable natural heritage that has since been severely impacted by unregulated human activities, indiscriminate urbanization and unsustainable models of development for coastal infrastructure. Climate change impacts have added to numerous causes that have left marine areas distressed and struggling for survival. Overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that undeterred by curbs on rise in global temperatures, sea levels along India’s coast has continued to rise at the rate of 1.3mm per year. India’s coastal management program is undermined by the absence of a primary legislation, the ensuing laxity in enforcement of and compliance with regulatory norms. The present legal regime denotes a clear absence of measures to protect the natural heritage of India’s coastline and coastal ecosystems. Industrial activities affecting India’s coastal areas are governed by a set of legislative instruments that are sectoral in their approach and therefore seem fragmented for a cohesive battle against climate change impacts. The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011(CRZ) issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 does not provide adequate measures to protect threatened shorelines and marine areas. The delegated legislation falls short in regulating industrial activities along the coasts, monitoring unsustainable development of coastal infrastructure and preventing pollution at source. There is an undeniable need to constitute a legal regime for coastal management that in its core serves an agenda to address climate change impacts, enhanced by a mandate for adaptation programs. This paper will attempt to present an argument in favor of a statutory framework that will enhance the existing integrated coastal zone management plan in India and resolve conflicts arising out of economic, social and environmental issues encompassing coastal zone regulation. Climate change is forcing developing nations to usher in requisite legal reforms within their regulatory regimes that rise up to meet international standards for coastal and ocean governance.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Kalpana S. Murari

Journal of Management and Sustainability   ISSN 1925-4725 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4733 (Online)   E-mail:


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