Oceans, our future!

Conakry, 8 June 2017. The Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine Conservation in West Africa (PRCM) wishes to strongly call for a concerted and urgent response to the numerous perils that threaten oceans and coastal areas in West African countries, including in Guinea. Indeed, the vital significance of the coastline for us, nationals of West Africa, cannot be overemphasised. Oceans produce oxygen (up to 50% of the oxygen we breath) and play a leading role in climate regulation through the exchange of heat and moisture with the atmosphere.

They confine 93% of the heat! Coastal areas provide food resources as well as habitats and economic zones from which millions of people earn a livelihood through fisheries, trade, tourism, etc. The PRCM has been endeavouring for several years to preserve oceans and the entire West Africa’s coastline. In 2015, by way of support to the work of the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), actions were conducted to have the International Tribunal on the Law of Sea establish the responsibility of states in case of illegal fishing by vessels flagging under their jurisdiction. In 2016, the PRCM helped in organising training sessions and colloquiums and supported a number of university courses focused on the management of coastal and marine resources.

The Director of the PRCM, Dr Senhoury, declared that “The PRCM will do everything possible to help preserve the functions and wealth of oceans and the coastline”. He also added that “the PRCM is resolved to provide all stakeholders and decision-makers, including those from Guinea, with enough knowledge and tools that will allow them to make the best decisions in the best interest of all”. In Guinea, where the PRCM is celebrating this year the World Oceans Day, the issues at stake in the protection of oceans are immense. Guinea’s coastline is 320 km long and is subject to the effect of rural exodus which has been very acute over the last 20 years, and to a marked expansion of the bauxite extractive industry.

Because urban population growth entails a greater land use on the coastal area, indispensable proactive spatial planning policies are required to ensure that sustainable development reconciles economic growth with natural resource management. Such is the spirit in which is being put together the initiative “Grand Conakry – 2040”. As Guinea’s coastline is already under high pressure from the hinterland, a strategic planning for coastal development and the regular monitoring of the evolution of the coastal area have become more than ever necessary.

Other large-scale actions are also being prepared by Guinea to ensure the good governance of oceans. As a matter of fact, the country started in March 2017, with the support of the PRCM, a process to join the Initiative for transparency in the fishery sector (FiTI). When completed, this accession will be a significant step towards reducing the governance and transparency deficit in this sector.

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