Coastal and marine environment: medias from the sub-region consult in Saly, Senegal

The PRCM organised a four-day sub-regional seminar in Saly to train journalists on issues related to the protection of coastal and marine areas.

The issue of coastal and marine protection will provide food for thought to about thirty specialised journalists from seven countries, being Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde, Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea. The event is a joint initiative of the Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine Conservation (PRCM) and Wetlands International, an organisation working to preserve wetlands in Africa, among others.

For four days, these media professionals will mull over several issues, including “the functioning of coastal and marine ecosystems, mangrove ecosystems, the additional protocol to the Abidjan Convention on coastal and marine areas, risks involved in the development of infrastructures or the significance of flagship species for socioeconomic and environmental development and biodiversity at large, and the risks related to oil and gas development”.

In the view of Dr Ahmed Senhoury, Director of the PRCM, “communication is key to the protection of marine and coastal environment, as it is all about swaying decisions and inducing behavioural change for a better world, in the quest for sustainable development”. Depicting the situation of the West Africa coastline, he said that the uncontrolled occupation of marine areas, bad fishing practices, marine pollution and climate change vulnerability were currently the problems facing the West Africa sub-region, at least in as much as the coastline was concerned. To address the situation, he outlined a number of actions, including the need for those countries that have not yet done so to adopt legal texts on these issues, calling on others to continue with the implementation of existing provisions. (…)

In the same vein, the Director of Programmes at Wetlands International, Mr. Pape WADE, stated that the idea was “to turn participants, who are both learners and trainers, into true champions of the environment…”. Emphasis was also laid on the importance of environmental and social impact assessments and transparency in fisheries. The various presentations were followed by interesting and fruitful discussions throughout the day. Field trips were expected to take place, and participants were to be introduced with a few “techniques and tips” for processing in a professional and impartial manner information on the coastal and marine environment. A female participant welcomed the seminar as a very timely meeting, given that countries in the sub-region, such as Senegal, Cabo Verde and Guinea, were confronted with uncontrolled constructions along the coast, described as an attack on the shoreline as everyone knows, much to the discontent of environmental champions.