A three-day technical workshop on coastal vulnerability in Central Africa, organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) concluded with a series of recommendations for decision-makers at national and regional levels to respond to challenges in coastal and marine environments.
National representatives of Angola, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and São Tomé and Príncipe met in Libreville (Gabon) between 5-7 November 2019 to start mapping out a roadmap for updating coastal zone management strategies and action plans at national and sub-regional levels. The longer-term objective: define scenarios for sub-regional and regional synergies to address transboundary coastal vulnerability challenges.
Following a presentation of the IOC-UNESCO Methodological Guide to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (1997, 2001), participants reviewed technical documentation, national and regional adaptation plans, as well as existing coastal systems and associated management policies.
They assessed the vulnerability of their country’s coastal areas to natural and anthropogenic constraints – such as floods, erosion, low fish stocks and urban development – and highlighted national efforts, both political and legal, implementation challenges and complexity of coastal dynamics in the context of integrated coastal zone management.
Through group exercises, participants proposed measures to reduce coastal vulnerability, including technical and sustainable funding mechanisms, at national and regional levels. Recommendations included the harmonization of legislation, the creation of a regional data center and increased environmental education.
The technical workshop was organized as part of the preparatory process of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and in the framework of the Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide. It received the financial support of the Government Offices of Sweden.