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24.11.2004 Regional News

Devt of the marine and coastal environment forum opens

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Accra, Nov. 24, GNA - A forum on the Abidjan Convention for Cooperation in the protection and development of the Marine and Coastal Environment on Wednesday opened to discuss papers that gave general overview of issues including fisheries, oil and gas, coastal erosion, municipal waste management, integrated coastal area management and tourism.

The three-day forum, which is part of the re-vitalization process, brought together experts from 22 countries to share ideas about international initiatives relevant to the coastal and marine environment.

The forum dubbed: "Focal Points Forum and preparation of 2005 - 2007 work programme for the Abidjan Convention" would also discuss an effective coordination structure for the implementation of the work programme to be developed Professor Kassim Kassanga, Minister of Environment and Science, opening the forum, said the world was witnessing the emergence of several environmental initiatives.

He said the Abidjan Convention Area was witnessing increase activities, especially with regard to oil and gas prospecting, exploration and pollution and depletion of fisheries resources. The Minister said at the global level, a number of processes have been initiated to solve problems associated with global resource management to achieve sustainable use.

He noted that the Large Marine Ecosystems located in the Abidjan Convention Area were all receiving support from the Global Environment Facility to address various issues and problems relating to the coastal and marine environment.

Prof. Kassanga urged all participants to put in their expertise to the full in the interest of the West Africa Sub-Region and the future of the people and marine environment.

The Abidjan Convention is a legally binding, regional umbrella agreement, which provides for the cooperative regional and national actions. It also makes provision for scientific and technological cooperation for the identification and management of environmental issues.

Dr Kwabena Koranteng, a Consultant for the Abidjan Convention, explained that each participating government was required to designate a focal person for the Convention.

He said the focal person was expected to be conversant with government policy on the coastal and marine environment. The Abidjan Convention came into force in 1984 after ratification by 11 countries.

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