Sunday, November 1, 2009

Protecting West African coast from erosion via UN News Service: In West Africa, the coast is more than just a simple marker between land and sea. It's also the home of millions - as much as 80 per cent of the populations of many countries live nearby - and a vital source of livelihoods and income thanks to the critical industries of fishing and tourism. Now the region's lifeline is under siege. Partly because of man-made climate change, West Africa's coastline is diminishing, as erosion eats away relentlessly at the land.

But a United Nations project in five countries (Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal) is seeking to reverse this trend. The scheme, which is still in a pilot phase, having been rolled out only in Guinea-Bissau so far, aims to protect the region's biodiversity and to enhance the abilities of local communities to adapt to the erosion.

"From my own experience, I don't think people generally are aware of climate change per se," but they have witnessed changes in coastal areas, said Isabelle Niang, Regional Coordinator of the Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Zones of West Africa (ACCC) programme.

West Africa's coasts are home to a rich array of ecosystems, including mangroves, lagoons, wetlands and coral reefs. Many species of fish, crustaceans and turtles make their home here, also a key part of global migration routes for birds….

A basalt coastline in Senegal, shot by Ji-Elle, who has generously released the image into the public domain

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