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Conflict management has been called the greatest challenge for integrated coastal zone management. Almost any significant development of a coastal zone, be it for tourism, harbours, aquaculture or residence, is likely to infringe on the rights of others and lead to conflicts.

The high priority accorded to "ownership of projects" and "stakeholder participation in all program phases" is a typical success factor for all integrated resources and environmental management fields.

The benefits of conflict management may depend on the type of project and the type of conflict. Conflicts can either be pre-existing (and even be a primary cause of ICZM problems) or result from planned interventions and/or development projects in the coastal zone. Construction of a major international seaport will probably always displace other users and conflict management may not be able to mitigate those conflicts significantly. On the other hand, the favourable outcome of multiple-use coastal zone development projects, where objectives of fisheries, tourism and environmental protection are expected to be realised in conjunction may depend on effective conflict management.


Which of the following statements is correct? 
Community consultation does not play an important role in conflict management
Conflict management should be an explicit element of project preparation
Conflict management is not effective during project execution 

Conflicts are not necessarily negative. The problem rather lies in how conflicts are managed. Thus, the goal of conflict management is not to avoid conflict, but to focus on the skills that can help people express their differences and solve their problems. Conflicts can either be real conflicts or conflicts that arise in case of miscommunication (e.g. not understanding of each other because of different perception of the problem). It is important to know the cause of a conflict so that an appropriate conflict management technique can be used.

Conflict management techniques can be presented on a scale of increasingly directive initiatives. The scale moves from the extreme that leaves all initiative and authority with the parties themselves towards increased involvement and eventually interventions by third parties that provide assistance. A representation of this scale is given in figure 2-4.



Consensus building Relationship building assistance Procedural assistance Substantive assistance Advisory non-binding assistance Binding assistance

Figure 2-4 A representation of the scale of different conflict management techniques

The involvement of third party assistance increases from point A to point B. Roughly at point C the power to resolve moves into the hands of outside parties. This is crucial because different relationships and communication patterns are established to the right as compared to the left of point C. To the right of point C the primary communication pattern is between the parties and the third-party decision maker. Each party presents its own case as well as possible and as much as possible to the detriment of the other parties. Information is legitimately withheld as much as possible and creative new win-win solutions are not very likely.

To the left of point C, parties are assisted to communicate directly with each other, jointly diagnose the problem, create alternatives, and own agreements.


Which approach(es) are best suitable for ICZM conflicts?

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