A three-day conference on the protection and development of the coastal and marine environment in sub-Saharan Africa opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Monday.
Organised under the auspices of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), its agenda was to work out a programme for a partnership conference to be held at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in South Africa in September.
The conference was jointly organised with the Super Preparatory Committee of the African Process for the Development and Protection of the Coastal and Marine Environment (APDPCME).
A statement by Nigeria's Ministry of Environment said the conference would seek to "integrate socio-economic as well as scientific and technical considerations into proposed interventions for addressing leading causes of degradation in the marine and coastal environment" in Africa.
Participants in the proceedings, declared open by Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, included Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Topfer, and representatives of African governments and international organisations.
During the meeting, approval of 33 projects proposed to deal with problems of coastal and marine environments in Africa is to be considered. The projects were identified during the final deliberations of the working group of APDPCME in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, in May. They cover pollution, modifications to the ecosystem, climate change, over-exploitation of fishery resources and eco-tourism.