Guidelines for the Establishment of Environmental Quality Objectives and Targets in the Coastal Zone of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Region
The Project “Addressing Land-based Activities in the Western Indian Ocean” (WIO-Lab) is a deliberate and conscious effort of the people of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region (including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros and Mauritius) taken in response to a call from the 1st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention in March 1997. The project was officially launched in Madagascar in July 2004 during the 4th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention. The WIO-Lab Project is aimed at addressing some of the major environmental problems and issues related to the degradation of the marine and coastal environment due to land-based activities in the region and has three main objectives: · Reduce stress to the ecosystem by improving water and sediment quality · Strengthen regional legal basis for preventing land-based sources of pollution · Develop regional capacity and strengthen institutions for sustainable, less polluting development. As part of the strategy of fulfilling the first and second objectives of the WIO-LaB Project, Protocols for the establishment of Environmental Quality Objectives and Targets (EQO/Ts) applicable to the coastal zone had to be developed for the region. Such EQO/Ts aim to protect the biodiversity of marine habitats (or ecotones) in coastal areas of the WIO region, as well as to ensure fitness for use (e.g. recreational use). An Environmental Quality Objective (EQO) is a broad, narrative statement describing the desired quality levels (or goals) for a particular environment, in this case the coastal zone. Environmental Quality Targts (EQTs) are defined as numerical or narrative target values for water and sediment quality parameters in receiving coastal environments that will ensure compliance with EQOs. The WIO-Lab Project Management Unit (PMU) approached the CSIR to assist in the formulation of Guidelines for the establishment of EQO/Ts for the coastal zone of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), as presented here.