|Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
CSI info 3
On the eve of the 21st century, some 60% of the world's population lives within 60km of the sea, and this figure is likely to rise to 75% by the year 2025. Of the world's 23 megacities, 16 are in the coastal belt. Coasts have always served as crossroads for peoples of many origins, and as a result these areas harbour intricate social and cultural mosaics. As for their ecological systems, the latter are among the most diverse, complex and productive on Earth. notwithstanding this enormous socio-cultural and ecological wealth, many coastal areas have become flashpoints for conflict as a result of an ever increasing demand for limited resources.
Addressing the variety of problems facing coastal regions and small islands requires transdisciplinary research and the careful formulation of policies for integrated action towards improved management of coastal resources. The UNESCO endeavour, 'Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands' (CSI), was launched in 1996 in response to these needs. Its goal is to serve as a platform for cross-sectoral action in order to assist Member States towards environmentally sound, socially equitable and culturally appropriate development in the regions concerned. The CSI info series offers an informal vehicle to disseminate pertinent information to managers and others in their search for solutions to coastal region and small island problems.
The present field study report is part of CSI's collaboration with other UNESCO units in support of a project entitled 'Cities: Management of Social Transformation and the Environment'. The 'Cities' project is c0-sponsored by the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) and the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programmes. In Africa, the project operates inter alia in the coastal community of Yeumbeul (region of Dakar, Senegal), where UNESCO, in co-operation with the Dakar-based NGO 'Environmental Development Action in the Third World' (ENDA) and the local inhabitants, has adopted various measures to improve living conditions. Some practical activities include: the creation of a water purification infrastructure, the collection of wastes, urban environmental awareness etc. In this context, a survey on groundwater quality was carried out in 1996 by the University Cheikh Anta of Dakar (UCAD). The long-range goal of the ensemble of activities is to improve the hygiene and quality of the environment in this heavily polluted and over-populated coastal area. The following report presents the results of this survey.