This present study examines comparatively one of current issues in coastal zone management (CZM) in Southeast Asian region, decentralized policy on CZM, through an overview of the approaches taken by Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. It analyzes the theoretical and practical aspects of decentralized CZM. This present study is one of few studies to date to analyze a wide variety of contemporary approaches to decentralized CZM and its major emerging trend in three States. Some part of this present study benefits from the authors previous work which was published at the Coastal Management journal, especially for Malaysia and Indonesia sections, with minor modification.
In this comparative research, the Federal system in Malaysia is argued to be able to influence more decentralized CZM and to promote community-based management approaches. The large diversity of coastal resources and communities combined with a still as yet tested decentralization policy in Indonesia is argued to bring more challenges in implementing the decentralization and community-based approaches in coastal zone. Meanwhile, the 25 years Philippines’ experience in devolution of responsibility to manage coastal resources is argued to provide more familiarities on making decentralized CZM work.