|Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
Integrated Coastal Zone Management on the Uruguayan Coast of the Río de la Plata Support Program
Relevance of the Uruguayan Coastal Zone
Most part of the population is located in the project's area and is there where is most of the intensive agriculture, industry, port facilities and transportation, tourism and artisanal fisheries activities are concentrated.
The sustainable management of the resources of these area will allow to maintain present job opportunities and to develop new ones as a result new activities that will take into consideration the maintenance or improvement of environment conditions.
Nature of the ECOPLATA Program
ECOPLATA is an inter-institutional agreement for joint execution of activities on the coastal zone, with the participation of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA); The National Institute of Fisheries (INAPE, MGAP); The Oceanographic, Hydrological and Meteorological Service of the Navy (SOHMA, Ministry of Defense); The College of Sciences and the College of Social Sciences of the University of the Republic.
The general objective is to contribute to the integrated management of the Uruguayan coastal zone of the Río de la Plata's resources through demonstrative actions at pilot area level. It includes the design and the execution of management policies based in a preliminary diagnosis and the proposition of actions oriented to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the coastal resources with the participation of governmental institutions that are responsible of environmental aspects and management of natural resources as well as with the participation of the social actors.
The proposed actions tend to resolve conflicts that are present in the use of coastal resources, both in the terrestrial fringe and the aquatic part of the project's area. The project proposes a number of actions oriented to protect areas that present little intervention until now and it proposes also some corrective actions in those areas where resources' degradation processes have been detected or where environmental problems have been identified.
The simultaneous work of several governmental institutions with responsibilities at national level, municipalities and local institutions, the University of the Republic, non-governmental institutions and other actors which are directly involved in the use or management of the resources use constitutes an innovative aspect of the project in Uruguayan conditions. The project's projection towards the educational area and diffusion in general, the participation of actors in the planning phase as well as in the project's execution and, the physical, chemical, biological and social-economic monitoring represent, an innovative working line in a project of this nature.
The concentrated action in pilot zones is intended to demonstrate the contribution of the technical and scientific information to the identification of the main problems and the necessary actions for the integrated coastal zone management. The inter-institutional and multidisciplinary efforts concentrated in a reduced area and the selection of the pilot zone with the most demonstrative potential will allow to obtain results in a short term and the reapplication of similar efforts in other parts of the project's area.
The demonstrative actions, directly observed by part of the population, is complemented with the promotion of a environmentally responsible attitude, training activities, diffusion. Also, public participation in resources management and monitoring, as well as diffusion are part of the process. This assures a higher cultural attitude regarding resources management and environmental protection. The scientific, technical and cultural transference, which is of fundamental importance in the sustainable development process, is supported by the participation of Canadian institutions in the educational, research and environmental protection areas.
The Program has defined two pilot areas: the area located between the Carrasco and Pando rivers and between "Playa Pascual" and "Punta Espinillo". The selection of these areas was based on the "Environmental and Social-Demographic Diagnosis of the Project's area made in 1998. In addition, work is being done in the zone of the Saline Front ("Frente Salino") represented by the area of the Río de la Plata of most importance for the reproduction, growing up and recruiting of the species of major interest for the artisanal fishery. Many settlements of fishermen of the coastal zone depend of it.
In both pilot areas mentioned above, work groups have been appointed to deal with problems related to Coastal Space Planning, Environment Quality, and Artisanal Fishery. They are integrated by professionals of ECOPLATA and social actors of the mentioned zones, such as Local Commissions, ONGs, Third Age Groups, private and public Educational Institutions, traders, etc, as well as members of the Municipal Governments of San José, Montevideo and Canelones. In the Pilot Zone "Frente Salino" the activities have been oriented to research on the reproduction and growing up of the main fishery resources and its relationship with the environment conditions, and the adaptation of fishery arts as a base for the improvement of the artisanal fishery management.
To support the work in present and future pilot areas the technical team of Planning and Management Policy Development is analyzing physical aspects of the coastal zone (beaches, ravines, rocky edges, dunes, etc) and present land use (for housing, tourism, agricultural, port and industrial facilities, etc.). A demographic characterization and an economic valuation of coastal resources and activities (industrial, mining and artisanal fisheries, tourism, etc) is also being made all along the coastal zone as a base to the identification of homogeneous zones and the development of a proposal planning the use of the land on the coastal zone.
All the information obtained and analyzed by the working groups of ECOPLATA is incorporated to a Geographical Information System (GIS). By this way, it will be possible the integrated analysis of the information and its permanent actualization for analysis, planning and decision taking in the coastal fringe of the Río de la Plata's on the basis of information and scientific-technical support.
The project is financed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA) with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).