Current coastal management practices are ineffective and their continuation endangers ecosystems that support the economies on which over half the worlds population depend, United Nations University experts warn in a new report offering a major prescription for sweeping change.
In a blunt assessment, to be presented Weds. June 4 at UN Headquarters, New York, UNUs Canadian-based International Network on Water, Environment and Health warns of a looming, potentially terminal disaster in several coastal areas unless we introduce much more effective management immediately.
Coastal marine ecosystems have declined progressively in recent decades due to the growth of human populations and their demands on the marine environment and resources, according to the report.
Bays and estuaries, sea grasses, and mangroves and wetlands have suffered dramatically in the past 50 years. Shorelines have hardened, channels and harbors have been dredged, soil dumped, submerged and emergent land moved, and patterns of water flow modified. And today climate change is starting to add further stress, leading some scientists to predict the total disappearance of coral reefs in some parts of the world.
It is a recipe for disaster for the 40% of all people today who live within 50 km of fast-growing coastal areas, according to the report, co-authored by UNU-INWEHs Assistant Director Peter Sale and Programme Officer Hanneke Van Lavieren; Mark J. Butler IV, Old Dominion University, Virginia; Anthony J. Hooten, AJH, Environmental Services, Bethesda, MD; Jacob P. Kritzer, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund, Boston, MA; Ken Lindeman, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne FL; Prof. Yvonne Sadovy de Mitcheson, University of Hong Kong; and Prof. Bob Steneck, University of Maine.
It is past time to implement truly integrated coastal zone management around the world, says UNU-INWEH Director Zafar Adeel. Management must be scaled a
|Contact: Terry Collins|
United Nations University