The study examines the implementation of sustainable development in the planning system for coastal shrimp culture of Bangladesh. The study outlines the emerging need for Bangladesh perceiving the challenge of 'sustainable development' as metaphysical paradigm on evolutionary goals and principles rather than as an event, directs the planning paradigm to search for the best solution on optimisation of means and choices. Thus, the study focuses on providing an optimal planning solution for development of a viable system incorporating social, economic and ecological components necessary for the human survival on this planet as exposed in the UN report Our Common Future and Agenda 21, the first Earth's Action Plan, which the nation states are committed to implementing through redesigning the country's policy planning system. Therefore, as a part of the implementation process, the primary research question for this study is, "to what extent are the goals of sustainable development being incorporated, and can potentially be practised, through an effective planning framework by the existing planning system of the coastal shrimp culture in Bangladesh?"
The study is divided into two major sections: (1) development of ideal planning theory for sustainable development, and (2) application of ideal planning theory to research using evidence from policy-plans, organisational decisions and opinion surveys. The ideal planning theory is developed through a systematic search of sustainable development, Integrated Coastal Zone Management and planning paradigms. Features of coastal shrimp farming in Bangladesh are described for additional input into the identification of specific criteria and indicators, which creates the elements of research hypotheses tested by scientific method - the case study. The resulting indicator and criteria are reported in four major categories including:
o Social (9 indicators): education and training, security, conflict, health, equity, employment and asset and savings
o Economic (7 indicators): national allocation and investment, production technique and pond management, farm investment and income and efficiency.
o Ecological (8 indicators): conservation of bio-diversity, zoning, water quality, disease control, effluent and sediment
o Institutional (18 indicators) including: planning, regulations, polluters pay principle, users pay principle, strategic, action and ad-hoc plans, shared decision, people's participation and action.
The study argues that the goals of sustainable development are practised reductively instead of holistically. This is based on evidence that economic criteria including farm level investment, production, export earnings and quality control are paid high attention, while there is a significant practice gap in social, ecological and institutional indicators such as security, conflict, effluent, sediment, regulation, polluters pay principles, users pay principles, EIA, people's participation, shared decisions, knowledge, planners' roles and ad-hoc plans, and the criteria preferred by the group opinion survey, training, credit facilities, conservation of species, disease control and flood are found to be inadequately practised in the existing planning system. Therefore, it is recommended that the preferred criteria be practised consistently on scales for holistic development and participation in the planning process.
The study finds that national policy-planning institutions for the fisheries sector do not articulate the issue of environmental responsibility, and there is no evidence in the policy-plans of provision for an integrated system and collective actions. The input-output process of project plans is practised without optimal strategies, location need and time frame principles, and is largely disjointed at the local level, and inconsistent, discontinuous and not increasing (decreasing or oscillating) over time, resulting in unsustainable conditions for coastal shrimp farming in Bangladesh. The study provides a holistic and synoptic planning solution for sustainability by suggesting that the top management authority, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, the Planning Commission and associated organisations should articulate the environmental and social responsibility in their mandate. Sustainability responsibility should be coordinated and to be reflected in statutory national development plans at the national level, strategic plans at the regional level, and action and ad-hoc plans at the local and community level. The study finds that Deputy Commissioners of coastal districts perform a basic coordination role with the fisheries sector and produce resolution on decisions, which are reductive with respect to conflict, quality control, farm registration and law enforcement. The study suggests that local government institutions, communities, shrimp farmers and NGOs should participate in local decisions for collective and integrated action. The national policy-plans and local coordinating authorities are encouraging the desperate use of coastal land and training for fry catchers. The study suggests the practice of zoning and farm siting, shrimp licensing (permits) and EIA, so that coastal common land, ecological fragile coastal areas and the valuable resources of Sundarbans can be conserved.
The study provides a synoptic and holistic planning model (theory) that will contribute significantly to the sustainable development of coastal shrimp culture in Bangladesh. This model will help national policy-planning authorities and coastal zone managers of developing countries like Bangladesh to identify the planning activities and responsibilities according to the principles of sustainable development. The research method developed in this study can be used as a universal guide for sustainable development in any country.