Coastal zone’s value to economy stressed


20-September-2012

Conference delegates in a souvenir photograph

The main aim of the ‘Changing coasts and oceans’ conference, held from September 13-14, was to review some of the recent results from research carried out in the Indian Ocean region and discuss the role of journalism in the urgent need for better resource management and protection.
 
The conference was co-hosted by the Minister for Environment of Sweden, Lena Ek and the Seychelles Minister for Environment and Energy Professor Rolph Payet.

In his keynote address, Minister Payet spoke strongly on the importance of capacity building, public awareness and the role of journalists in ensuring long sustainability of the coastal zone and oceans. 

Minister Payet used examples to illustrate shortfalls in having continuity in programmes because many initiatives are reliant on grants and are not necessarily well integrated into national plans.  One such example is the ReCoMap project, which was a sub-regional coastal zone project for the coastal countries and small island states of the western Indian Ocean which developed a training module for integrated coastal zone management.

This module is now being converted into a course for delivery at the University of Seychelles so that people can benefit from the course in the long term.

He also spoke about the need to engage local communities through students studying at higher institutions and the need to strengthen these institutions to sustain human and institutional capacity.

Professor Payet also spoke about data management and sharing and its importance in communicating facts to the media.

Other topics discussed in the two-day conference included coastal and marine production of food for growing populations, fisheries in developing countries, small-scale versus industrial fisheries, overfishing on reefs, development of small-scale community based aquacultures in East Africa, small-scale fisheries in shallow coastal lagoon as well as the conservation of seagrass for ecosystem health and carbon sequestration “Blue carbon”.

During the two days, journalists from Kenya, Tanzania, India, Sweden and Indonesia got the chance to share their experiences on challenges they face while reporting on issues related to the environment.

The impacts of global trends on local environmental and development opportunities were also discussed at the session which ended with a panel discussion on ‘Changing coasts and oceans: How can we contribute to better understanding and improved management?’ with the participation of journalists, politicians and researchers.

The conference was organised by the School of Natural Sciences of the Linnaeus University with support from the Centre Party Research Foundation, Sweden.

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