- Published on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 01:56
- Written by MASEMBE TAMBWE
- Hits: 1070
TANZANIA and other member states of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region have shown foresight in preventing major pollution incidents by finalising national reports.
The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) Acting Director General, Eng Eliona Simbo, said during the opening of WIO Maritime Highway Development and Coastal and Contamination Prevention project that the meeting aims at setting the economic valuation criteria.
"It is clear that this region is at risk of experiencing major pollution incidents from various sources including oil spills from ships and oil and gas exploration and extraction activities currently going on in the countries of the region," he said. Eng Simbo said that the concept of total economic value was generally recognised as the most suitable framework for the economic valuation of ecosystems services or of the impacts projects which changes the flow in quantity or quality of ecosystem services.
He said that it is appropriate to highlight suitable methodology for the region before proceeding to the economic valuation of ecosystem services or to estimating the economic impacts of incidents such as oil spills on the provision of these services.
"There is a great need to develop at regional level a common method for ecosystem valuation, as no economic values are consistently given to resources that are damaged during development projects or accidents," he said. Eng Simbo said that a common methodology would be used in the WIO region particularly by the nine participating countries in evaluating the impacts of such damage.
The participating countries include Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania though South Africa, Mozambique and Seychelles are not present in the meeting currently taking place in Dar es Salaam. The WIO Maritime Highway Project is intended to produce a number of outputs including a common methodology for economic valuation of ecosystem for the region.
It is intended to allow for an early implementation and institutionalisation of a cooperative and adaptive management through building of a knowledge base and strengthening of technical and management capabilities at the regional level. "We are happy that the WIOMHP project has assisted national experts in developing reports which are meant to be shared between regional countries and therefore spearhead regional linkages," he said.
The Sub-Regional Project Coordinator, Indian Ocean Commission, Mr Raj Prayag said that the overall goal was that the mechanism to appraise the value of our ecosystems is so that they are integrated into national strategies. Mr Prayag said that it was quite an achievement to have all the reports of participating members though it had proved difficult to compile all within the required timeframe.
"It is a little saddening that there are some countries in the region that are not showing the required interest but we hope that at the end of the day we have a sustainable ecosystem after a common methodology of evaluation has been obtained," he said.
He said that regional experts would bring their contribution through their local knowledge of existing, common but important natural resources and also their experience of values that they would apply to be used in assessment for developmental projects.
The project's local focal point for environmental component and also senior environmental officer of the National Environment Management Council, Ms Rose Sallema Mtui said that Tanzania came on board late into the project but had made a lot of headway.
Ms Mtui said that to a larger extent it had completed or near completed the four main components of the project namely the installation of a demonstration modern aid to navigation systems (marine highway) and its assessment and capacity building for prevention of coastal and marine contamination.
Other components include building capacity for regional oil and chemical spill response and widening of the regional agreement on port state control and implementation of its provisions. During the 2010 regional workshop, it was agreed that all countries proceed with an economic valuation of coastal ecosystem goods and services solely based on existing international studies, regional studies, and national studies which are most appropriate for the case at hand.
Four countries (Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, and South Africa) would undertake specific national case studies and implement specific methodologies to assess the economic values of specific coastal ecosystem good and services in selected areas of the country.