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Mangrove Restoration and Mitigation After Oil Spills and Development Projects in East Africa and the Middle East

  • David I. Little
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 25)

Abstract

This chapter describes inter-governmental and industry initiatives for spill prevention, preparedness and oil spill response (OSR) planning in East Africa and the Middle East, where mangroves are vulnerable to spills and other threats. The two main regional examples of oil spills affecting mangroves are deliberate spills by Iraq following the 1st Gulf War of 1991 (Saudi Arabia), and the ‘Katina P’ innocent passage incident of 1992 in Maputo Bay (Mozambique). The scale of the Gulf War spills led to the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) programs on remediation of oiled shorelines, mangrove restoration, and nature reserves in Saudi Arabia. Also described are recommendations for mangrove mitigation and creative conservation in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of coastal developments (Qatar). Marine and terrestrial ecological sensitivities in East Africa and the Middle East are acknowledged and widespread, but often data-deficient. There are many important coastal areas with high biological diversity and abundance, including mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, saltmarsh, brackish and freshwater wetlands. The associated communities of fish, turtles, marine mammals and birds in East Africa and the Middle East are often linked by migratory fauna that are functionally dependent at certain life stages on mangroves and other, often adjacent habitats (e.g., mangroves occur in 57% of coastal important bird areas). Local economies throughout these regions rely heavily on natural capital for subsistence livelihoods and sustainable development (e.g., high value tourism). The chapter concludes that unless local communities are genuinely involved with, and also benefit more equitably from, extractive and other coastal developments, both directly and through local investments paid for by the taxes levied by their governments, there is a risk that they reject the industry’s license to operate. As described by Gundlach, and by Little et al. (in this Coastal Research Library publication), this negative point is illustrated by pipeline spills of 2008 followed by numerous subsequent spills from ‘hot-tapping’ and ‘artisanal’ refining in the mangroves near Bodo, Nigeria. The diligent protection, restoration and integration of mangroves into landscape-scale conservation that is inclusive of the rural poor are key strategies to avoid this extreme precedent.

Keywords

Environmental sensitivity ESIA follow-up License to operate OSR constraints Cleanup trade-offs Regional development UNCC follow-up 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The preparation of this chapter was self-funded, and the views expressed are my own. The author is grateful for the assistance of the following individuals and organizations: BirdLife International for data on IBAs, EBAs and bird habitats; Government of Mozambique, Richard Golob and Jeff Hyland for ‘Katina P’ study; Joseph Sandrin (CH2M) for Saudi Arabian marsh photograph; Phil Ruck (IPIECA, now of ITOPF) and Peter Taylor (Petronia Consulting Limited) for East Africa oil spill preparedness project; Melanie Little for landscape and mangrove sketches; Mesaieed Industrial City, Arthur D. Little Limited, Benno Böer (UNESCO), and John Barker and the late Phil Beall for environmental assessment and mangrove mitigation in Qatar; John Mullett for ‘Flexigester’ data; Martin Guard (UNCC Secretariat), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, Pandion Technology Limited, Yakov Galperin, and the Independent Reviewers for coastal remediation and restoration projects in Saudi Arabia after the 1st Gulf War; and Muralee Thummarukudy (UNEP) for post-conflict environmental projects in Lebanon and Nigeria.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • David I. Little
    • 1
  1. 1.Swavesey, CambridgeUK

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