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Coastal governance researchers from left: Dr
Mvuseselo Ngcoya; Ms Catherine Sutherland; Ms
Andisiwe Jukuda; Professor Dianne Scott and Dr
Louis Celliers.

UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has embarked on a research venture involving coastal governance.

The main research question being posed is: How applicable is the “knowledge negotiation” model for producing appropriate knowledge for coastal governance in the context of a neo-liberal, developing society in the process of transformation?

According to one of the Principal Investigators at the CSIR, Dr Louis Celliers, the main object of the research is the development and testing of an innovative and radical model for (scientific) knowledge production at local (or municipal) levels.

‘The theoretical problem posed in this project, is that in order to create a “democratic knowledge-society” an alternative model of knowledge production needs to be developed that is appropriate for coastal zone governance in a developing society.

‘The purpose of this model is to inform evidence-based decision-making and management of South Africa’s coastal resources, to build competence and to contribute to the theoretical debate around the development of a democratic knowledge-society,’ said Celliers.

The Primary Investigators are Celliers; Dr Susan Taljaard; Dr Michelle Ardouin from the CSIR; UKZN’s Professor Dianne Scott, Dr Mvuseselo Ngcoya and Ms Catherine Sutherland and two postgraduate students from SBEDS, Ms Andisiwe Jukuda and Mr Tazkiyyah Amra.

The project team is using the Durban Golden Mile as a case study since this area represents a typical relationship at the city-port-environment interface. 

‘In Durban, climate change challenges have received much attention and are being actively addressed by the local municipality.  Traditionally, such information is generated by an appointed consultant, focusing on biophysical and management aspects but to date the inclusion of local knowledge has been neglected,’ said Celliers.  He pointed out that such information was a critical starting point in the development of integrated coastal management programmes.

Scott said the project aimed to set up a ‘competency group’ consisting of knowledge holders who would share and negotiate an understanding of the conflicts and issues in the Golden Mile coast and sea zone.

‘This provides an inkling of the diversity of the expression of knowledge, and the need to explore ways in which to learn from each other in order to understand the problem and find mutually agreeable solutions for coastal issues,’ she said.

The project runs over the next three years and will form the basis for active collaboration between the project team and eThekwini Municipality, the Provincial and National Government.