Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis of Land-based Sources and Activities in the Western Indian Ocean Region

United Nations Environment Programme ; United Nations Environment Programme Institutional authors (2008-11-12)

The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region extends from approximately latitude 120 N to 340 S and longitude 300 to 800 E (see Figure 1-1). The region encompasses a large array of marine and coastal settings, ranging from small island states to large countries with extensive coastlines and tropical and subtropical climates. The continental coastal states are Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa while the island states are Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar and Réunion (France). The WIO countries not only share common biological resources and climatic features but also many historical, cultural and economic ties. Despite these commonalities, the countries in the region are at different stages of both political and economic development, reflected among others by the individual economic indicators for countries in the region ranging from those with a per capita gross national product (GNP) of over $ 8,000 per annum (Seychelles and Reunion), to those with less than $1,000 GNP (Comoros, Tanzania, and Madagascar). (UNDP, 2006). Some 40 million people inhabit the coastal areas of the region and so overall population Some 40 million people inhabit the coastal areas of the region and so overall population density of the region is not remarkably high. However, while large areas may lack coastal populations, such as much of the Somali coastline, certain areas are indeed very densely populated. Urbanization pressures are most marked in the mainland states, where main urban centres such as Mombasa (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Maputo (Mozambique) and Durban (South Africa) have arisen, each supporting populations of 2 to 4 million.

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