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.



Executive summary

The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region spans across a large latitudinal range, from the Somalia region, influenced by the strong monsoon regime of the northern Indian Ocean, to the southern temperate regime of the tip of South Africa, where the Agulhas current diverges from the northward moving Atlantic Benguela current. It encompasses tropical and subtropical regions of diverse nature, rich stretches of coast along the mainland countries of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa, and vast oceanic areas surrounding the island states of Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius and French Territories. Geomorphological and oceanographic features define the character of the WIO. The social tissue of the of the WIO, where much of the population lives at the coast, is an amalgam of diverse populations with different origins, a product of the rich and varied political history, where networks of trade interactions have generated a high ethnic and cultural diversity. The cultural heritage is thus important and matches the natural richness of the region. Most countries in the WIO have high population growth rates, and coastal development is expected to grow accordingly.


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