Multiple scenarios being developed for the future zoning of the marine and coastal area.
For six days, more than sixty environmental experts have conducted reflections during the workshop of inter-sectoral stakeholder consultation on the mapping of uses and on the development of different scenarios for the use of the marine and coastal space in Grand-Bassam. This workshop, chaired by Mr. François Kouablan, Director of Cabinet representing the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Jean-Luc Assi, was held from May 31 to June 5 2021 in Grand-Bassam.
At the opening of the workshop, Mr. Kouablan recalled the importance of the GIAMAA project for Côte d’Ivoire. “The need to have a management plan for the marine and coastal area of Côte d’Ivoire is more than urgent”, he said. As for the Abidjan Convention secretariat, optimism is prevailing with regards to the new image that experts will give the Ivorian coastline. “You are going to work, during these days, to draw a positive, rich and sustainable future for our coastline”, said Dr. Jacques Abe, who represented the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, Mr. Abou Bamba.
CIAPOL, the national technical structure in charge of the implementation of the project can only be delighted with this promising initiative. “I am convinced that our involvement, as managers and users of the marine space, in the establishment of development tools for marine protected areas in Côte d’Ivoire, will unlock their economic potential for the well-being of present and future generations”, said the Director General of CIAPOL, Mr. Niagne Martin Dibi.
Mr. Guy Daniel Ouegnin, Municipal Councillor representing the mayor, welcomed and thanked the presence of all the officials, stakeholders and national and international partners. For him, the intensity of human activities is not without negative impacts on the marine and coastal environment of Grand-Bassam. That is why he was pleased with the choice of the first capital of Côte d’Ivoire as a pilot city for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), which constitutes a management tool for the marine and coastal space.
During the workshop, several communications and group work allowed the elaboration and validation of maps of future uses, as well as scenarios of evolution of the marine and coastal space of Grand-Bassam. To this end, several field visits were conducted during the workshop. Under the supervision of Mrs. Dyenaba Seck and Professor Jacques-Andre Ndione of the Centre de suivi écologique, Dakar, recommendations were made. These include: to analyze the various proposals for financial loans in order to take advantage of the best possible opportunities; to implement the legal texts pertaining to the appointment of Maritime Prefects; to establish new marine protected areas (MPAs); to focus on institutions rather than projects – because the latter are limited in time; to seek funds in order to finance the National Agency for Integrated Coastal Management (ANAGIL) and to formulate a good strategy to ensure that the Agency is as sustainable as possible in time; to integrate the Ministry of Planning and Development into the National Steering Committee; to initiate dialogue between the private and public sectors through ANAGIL; and finally to ensure that projects requiring a public inquiry are being widely publicized so that all stakeholders are effectively involved in these inquiries.
For Ms. Marguerite Bekoin, coordinator of the GIAMAA project and her team, it is up to stakeholders to set a vision of what our coastal and marine area should be in 5 to 10 years. For “If we do not give ourselves a futuristic vision, which integrates both the use of marine and coastal space, and the protection of the state of the marine and coastal environment, and we continue to use these resources in a disorganized way, it is clear that at some point, we will no longer benefit from the goods and services that these marine and coastal ecosystems provide”, she warned.
Recall that the project coordination team proceeded, already in March 2021, with the identification of sites and with the establishment of a multidimensional scientific team responsible for leading the process. Subsequently, the first inter-sectoral consultation for the identification of all stakeholders in the Grand-Bassam marine and coastal area was held, followed in July 2020 by the call for applications for the recruitment of a consultant to assess the legal and institutional framework of Côte d’Ivoire with regards to MSP. In September 2020, training on the use of the SEASKETCH mapping software was provided, followed in November 2020 by the development and validation of the MSP report outline, while in February 2021 an MSP stakeholder capacity development workshop was held in Bonoua.
Despite these notable advances in the MSP process, it must be recognized that many challenges remain. This is evidenced in the next steps, which are the validation of the zoning proposal; the elaboration and validation of the mapping of future uses, which require data collection from all stakeholders; the elaboration and validation of the management plan for the marine and coastal area of Grand-Bassam; and the validation of the assessment report on the national legal and institutional framework related to MSP.
It should be recalled that MSP is a process that is perfectly consistent with the Integrated Coastal Area Management Plan (PAGIL) implemented by the West Africa Coastal Areas Resilience Investment Project (WACA – ResIP). Indeed, these two complementary tools aim to provide stakeholders of the marine and coastal area of Côte d’Ivoire with a planning framework, favoring an integrated and inclusive approach to the use of the marine and coastal area. One (the PAGIL) aims to develop the coastal area, and the other (MSP), the marine area, which are two interdependent environments. At the end of the Grand-Bassam workshop, participation certificates were given to all stakeholders who took part in the workshop.
Images: GIAMAA project