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I have just returned from the final COAST (Collaborative Action for Sustainable Tourism) Project meeting, which was attended by delegates from 9 African countries, including countries from West Africa, East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. The message from delegates was clear. Donor agencies and international consultants need to work together with partner countries and local stakeholders, and ensure that local skills and experience is boosted through such projects.
Although the COAST (Collaborative Action for Sustainable Tourism) Project focuses on tourism, it is clear that local capacity development within coastal areas needs far more serious consideration and an approach is required that takes all alternative livelihoods into account. Marine resources are rapidly dwindling and there is no longer a choice as to whether people must work together or not - collaborative action has become a necessity and there is simply no longer any leeway left for resources to be used in a wasteful manner.
From the Marine Tourism Management experience, in which I was involved, local people on the ground, government officials, the private sector and donors see that the situation is very serious - the time has come to deal with the future of our coastline far more seriously. Cross sectoral solutions are now a necessity.