With the Abidjan Convention region covering 22 countries who boast a combined EEZ of approximately 4.8 million km2 in size,the management of the region’s marine and coastal ecosystems is a daunting task indeed.
This more so,against the backdrop of complexity of managing a high variety of potentially conflicting activities in an environment subject to constant change.
The coastal and marine resources provide the basis for substantial proportion of economic and social activities in Africa. This includes fishing, tourism, offshore mining (including oil and gas), navigation and other industries.
Of the 33 coastal countries,in Sub Saharan Africa,more than 50% of the population are said to live within 100 km of the coast, and up to 40% of the African population are said to derive their incomes from marine and coastal resources.
By 2015, the coastal city of Lagos was expected to have attained the status of the third largest city in the world with a population approaching 25 million. The World Tourism Organisation predicts that Africa will receive an estimated 77 million tourists by 2015, many of whom will use coastal and marine resources
To this end,the Integration Ocean Management(OIC) by which the Mami Water Project seeks to bring together all relevant government bodies, sectors and stakeholders is an approach for more effective and sustainable management is a step in the right direction .
The relevance and importance of the project can therefore be best appreciated in the light of is intended strengthening of national and regional action to capture the value of marine and coastal ecosystems through a dual approach, developing capacity through training and applying State of Marine Environment Assessments (SoME), CBD Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), in an IOM framework.
The need for adopting integrated approach to common problems are enshrined in three age-long African proberbs that goe,”Two heads are better than one”,”They are coming is better than he is coming”,and “The one who eats alone dies alone”.To wit,all that the proverbs seek to emphasize is that,probelms no matter their magnitude, could be easier comfronted by an all hands on deck approach.Individual approach could be counter productive and could even lead to fatalities ,to say the least.
To this end,we of the African Development magazine,wish to appreciate the efforts of the funders of the project,the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety as well as its implementing partners, the Abidjan Convention Secretariat and GRID -Arendal.