Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

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The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.



Significant social and economic aspects of biodiversity conservation

Current practices on coastal and marine resource management in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) have integrated multiple but interrelated economic and social aspects that impinge on the state of the environment. This is a reflection of changing perceptions on human-environment interactions, and deeper appreciation of the significance and complexities of the human dimension in biodiversity conservation (Cinner and David 2011, Rocliffe and others, 2014). Conceptually, some conservation initiatives have woven together the realities of societal processes, particularly demographic dynamics, people’s livelihoods and cultural value systems, with ideas on and estimations of the economic of environmental resources together with their habitats (Sultan 2012, Turpie and Wilson 2011). This understanding is used to influence policy and practice in the management of resources. Also important are policy choices and commitments to management, indicating how global processes or national priorities influence decisions on conservation practice (UNEP 2013) and the adaptation of coastal communities to climate change. Increasingly, economic and social effects of climate change, witnessed by sea level rises or temperature surges in the region, are becoming key components in biodiversity conservation (UNEP 2011), especially with regard to human activities as non-climate stressors (Westerman and Gardner 2013). These effects have been taken into consideration in ecosystem-based management approaches in which the iterative relations between people, nature and institutions inform resource management and conservation projects (Grillo 2011). Community participation is regarded as particularly important in the management of these resources for their effective biodiversity conservation.


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