Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coastal erosion research in Senegal goes unfunded

IRIN: Environmental officials are calling for funds to document the deterioration of Senegal’s coast and take action to save coastal communities. “We need facts and figures about the sea to show people that [the threat of coastal erosion] is not just all talk,” said Sory Diallo, the director of Hydrometeorology and Maritime Meteorology in Senegal’s Ministry of Infrastructure.

The government in 2008 released a strategy to fight coastal erosion, which includes 22 projects. As of February 2009 government officials are still seeking donor funding for 14 of the projects, including research, according to government reports. Researcher Isabelle Niang, a professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in the capital Dakar, told IRIN there is no money for studies to identify vulnerable areas or the extent of coastal damage.

“There is no research budget at the university; we have to pay for field trips ourselves and it is not easy,” said Niang. “If our scientists are asked for information, they cannot provide it because they cannot carry out the studies.” She said she is worried the Senegalese government has been slow to look for such funding because it does not want to discourage investors from coastal areas, which are popular for tourism projects.

But government officials told IRIN it is in their best interest to halt coastal damage. “The country’s economic and tourist centres and its main inhabited areas are all on the coast,” said Eliman Ba, a government adviser on coastal erosion. “If we find no solution to coastal erosion, a good part of our country will just disappear.”

Senegal’s Environment Ministry estimates that the sea is eroding the West African country’s Atlantic coastline by at least one metre per year on average, but said erosion is up to 10 times worse in vulnerable areas like the coastal town of Saint-Louis, 266km north of Dakar….

Locator map of Senegal by Rei-Artur, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5, Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 and Attribution ShareAlike 1.0 License

1 comment:

Mayday said...

dear brian

i am a final year Bsc student at he university of Namibia. i am planning to undertake a study on coastal erosion in swakopmund a coastal town in Namibia. however there is little literature available on the above in our country and would like to use other African coastal states as references. i would therefore like to would closely with you during the year to assist me with my research. my apologies for the frankness but i would really like if you could be a guide during this study. please fell free to contact me any time