A five-day regional training workshop on Coastline Mapping using Satellite Imagery was launched yesterday at the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) in Albion. The objective of the workshop is to provide technical staff with the theoretical principles and practical exercises for using satellite imagery to perform coastline mapping in the framework of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) Project.
Some 20 participants from Comoros, Seychelles, and Madagascar along with local stakeholders are attending the workshop which is organised by the MOI in collaboration with the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
This initiative of the MOI forms part of the capacity building activities of the MESA Project, funded by the European Union. It utilises Earth Observation and satellite technologies to generate products and information services for sustainable environmental management. Currently, it is offering products and operational services to African users in areas such as: agricultural production; monitoring and assessment of droughts and floods; climate services for disaster risk reduction; coastal and marine resources management; and water resources management, amongst others.
Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, stated that marine research and innovation is an essential input to informed policy and management. He underlined that time has come for the Indian Ocean to experience an era of close exchange and cooperation in order to become one of the world's ocean economic exchange region. MESA is a good example of how we can develop such cooperation and reinforce our planning capacity in various sectors of the economy, he said.
Minister Koonjoo highlighted that MESA fits well with the objectives of the Government especially in the context of the Ocean Economy. He recalled that Government is working towards the setting up of a legal framework and a unified regulatory body to license, supervise, monitor and regulate the activities of ocean related economic operators.
The Minister also stressed on the need for a better understanding of how our coastal areas respond to different hazards in particular the climatic changes that can increase the risks posed to the coastal environment of the IOC countries. He added that it is with these concerns in mind that the MOI has proposed the elaboration of Coastal Vulnerability Index maps for the African countries.
He appealed to the participants to take advantage of the training and help in designing, promoting and implementing future policies and development plans for sustainable development, hence, contributing and enhancing the socio-economic conditions of their countries and the African population at large.