Côte d’Ivoire has launched its pilot project on the integrated management of the marine and coastal area from Abidjan to Assinie (GIAMAA).
On May 2 2019, the Ivorian Center for Antipollution (CIAPOL) under the supervision of the Ivorian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, has launched the GIAMAA project in Grand Bassam.
Located in West Africa in the intertropical zone along the Gulf of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire opens on the Atlantic Ocean on an area of 250 000 km² of marine waters, with a coastal zone that extends over an area of 32,960 square kilometers. 90% of the industries are located in the southern zone of the country, as well as the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro that support an intense maritime traffic of various goods and petroleum products. The landscape of the Abidjan-Assinie landscape in particular, is the site of numerous human activities threatening aquatic ecosystems – agriculture and deforestation, industries and pollution, oil, gas and mining activities, fishing, tourism, and port activities.
Côte d’Ivoire’s aquatic ecosystems are home to many endangered species such as whales, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Semi-aquatic and aquatic species can be found in many ecosystems and habitats, the most notable being the mouths of major rivers, lagoons, mangroves, wetlands, coastal sand rocks, the continental shelf, sediment habitats, coastal marine waters, or marine vegetation habitats. The coastal and marine waters of the Abidjan-Assinie landscape are therefore included in ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSA) intersecting the sardine and shrimp route, the marine area of the canyons and the bottom hole of Abidjan, the tuna breeding area and finally the marine area of Assinie. This rich marine biodiversity is the basis of important economic activities, including fishing, with fish production amounting 50,000 to 70,000 tons per year (all fisheries at sea combined). The coastal and marine space hence constitutes an extremely important natural and economic heritage for the country.
Unfortunately, it is clear that if current trends continue, the marine and coastal zone will lose its potential due to human pressures and increasing impacts of climate change that lead to ecosystem breakdown and disruption of biological and ecological cycles. Faced with this situation, the existing planning processes are still too piecemeal and punctual to promote the sustainable management of the coastal and maritime landscape of Abidjan-Assinie and its biological diversity. The management of marine and coastal areas (especially that from Abidjan to Assinie) is a challenge for Côte d’Ivoire for several reasons. Among these is the complexity of the management of various anthropogenic activities in the already mentioned area, namely: fishing, shipping, oil, gas and mineral exploitation, tourism, etc., which take place on a space with limited natural resources that should be preserved. This situation results in frequent and growing conflicts between a multitude of actors with divergent interests.
Launched May 2 2019 in Grand Bassam, the GIAMAA project aims to implement an operational spatial planning tool to manage the use of the marine and coastal space in the area, to preserve the ecosystems of ecological and biological importance and to reduce conflicts of use while facilitating the achievement of socio-economic objectives agreed by the parties. The expected results under the project for integrated management of the marine area from Abidjan to Assinie are the following: the state (current and forecasted) of the coastal and maritime landscape will be reported; a coherent and supportive legal and institutional framework for marine spatial planning will be implemented; and the zoning of the different activities in the marine area will be realized.
The project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), with a counterpart in kind provided by the Government of Ivory Coast, and implemented by the Ivorian Antipollution Center (CIAPOL), with the technical support of GRID-Arendal (Norway) and the Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention.