Stakeholder participation is an important element in sustainable landscape and resources management and spatial planning. It opens a possibility for integrating knowledge of coastal expertize from local residents and various institutions into the planning process. Integrated coastal and marine spatial planning (ICMSP) processes are particularly sensitive to lack of participation, since coastal space is usually an arena of multiple stakeholders values, interests and activities. On top of high ecological values attached to key habitats and ecosystems, coastal areas are often spaces of conflicts of interests of different groups of people. Lack of participation hampers identification of culturally, socially and economically important areas and in the advent of missing stakeholder knowledge, evidence-based spatial planning processes are not sustainable.
Few years ago, the Government of Zanzibar made a new national land use plan, which creates a three level planning framework to the island’s and the territory of Zanzibar. At the moment, the Department of Urban and Rural Planning is implementing a special area plan for the North-East coast of Zanzibar (Unguja) island, where coastal and marine spatial planning and stakeholder participatory practices are integrated into the planning process as a collaboration between the Government of Zanzibar, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), University of Turku (UTU) and State University of Zanzibar (SUZA). For decades, community participation in spatial planning processes in Zanzibar has remained in the lower levels of citizen participation ladder. The framework and mechanism for participation has not been well established. In a situation where spatial data is limited, as is the case of marine and coastal areas in Zanzibar, local knowledge is crucial to fill the gaps of knowledge.
The aim of this paper is to present the findings from this collaborative planning process, where we have studied the potential of place-based knowledge in enhancing integrated coastal-marine spatial planning process in the Northeastern coast of Unguja Island, Zanzibar. The key issues addressed in the presentation will be a) how does participatory mapping by key stakeholders support establishment of place-based knowledge of coastal activities, values and anticipated future changes; b) how does place-based knowledge mapped and shared through participatory GIS techniques support identification of coastal resource planning and management solutions, and c) how did participatory mapping influenced co-learning, ownership and acceptance of the spatial planning process.
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