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15.03.2005 General News

Workshop on coastal environmental mgt opens

By GNA

Accra, March 15, GNA - Science and Environment Minister, Ms Christine Churcher on Monday opened in Accra a five-day international workshop on integrated coastal areas management and called on countries to adopt regional approaches to address trans-boundary marine protection problems.

She said: "Trans-boundary issues such as coastal degradation, marine pollution, destruction of mangroves, loss of biodiversity and the depletion of living resources call for concerted approach by all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to combat them." Experts, policy makers and research scientists of countries involved in the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) Project are participating.

The four-year project, which took off this year and could develop into a commission, is looking at combating natural marine resource depletion with sponsorship from the United Nations Development Programme, Global Environmental Facility and the United States Oceanic Association of the Americas.

Participating countries stretch along the Gulf of Guinea, from Angola up to Guinea Bissau.

Ms Churcher, who was represented by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr Edward Osei Nsenkyire described the workshop which was to create a platform for the participating countries to engage in a sustained dialogue based on common as timely.

This, she said, was because of recent natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and tsunamis with their devastating effects. Mr Nsenkyire, whose welcoming address was read for him by the National Director of the Project, Mr Napoleon Gbolonyo said that there was hope in view of the extensive collaboration between African countries and international partners that the comprehensive approach would soon yield to more precise and result oriented approach to environmental concerns. Statements from Dr Jack Abe of GCLME, Dr Justin Ahanhanzo of the International Oceanographic Commission, stressed the need to create early warning systems for participating countries.

Dr Ahanhanzo said it was in that direction that it was necessary to assemble and assess historical data and show the vulnerability to natural induced disasters from the ocean, as well as disaster from the atmosphere and earthquakes.

Prof Yaa Ntiamoa Badu of the University of Ghana chaired the opening ceremony.

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