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The Tanzanian coastal resources atlas and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database are major outputs of the "Eastern African coastal and marine environment resources database and atlas project". The outputs are the first of their kind in Tanzania within the framework of the Eastern African Action Plan, adopted by nine countries of the Eastern African Region in 1985.

Besides this atlas textbook and the coastal GIS database the project has offered the collaborating national institutions training of personnel in skills related to database management and GIS techniques to ensure project sustainability. In addition, the project has organized a series of workshops and seminars within the country to promote the use of the atlas and by explaining the benefits of GIS database in coastal management.

The textbook on the coastal environment contains information on the resources of the 800 km long Tanzania coastline fronting the Indian Ocean from Kenya in the north at 4°38'S to Mozambique in the south at 10°30'S, including offshore islands of Zanzibar (i.e. Unguja and Pemba) and Mafia (to the south). Maps interspersed within the textbook are derived from the already operational coastal GIS database located at the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Zanzibar.

The coastal GIS database provides data and information to planners and decision-makers from various administrative institutions and specialized agencies in Tanzania, including Marine Parks and Reserves Unit, Department of Archives, Museum and Antiquities, and the National Environment Management Council. The coastal GIS database allows the project's counterpart institutions to produce different thematic maps to meet the demands of the users such as provision of base maps for conservation areas and critical habitats, development of emergency contingency plans in case of an accidental oil spill, and development of thematic maps for evaluating distribution, trends, assessment and monitoring of resources to help identify action priority areas and hotspots.

The atlas textbook will be of immense benefit to a variety of users such as tourists, hoteliers, teachers, park managers, NGOs and environmental resource managers, local administrators, fishing cooperatives, and the general public. The atlas presents a profile of areas of intense use along the coastline that require careful management. The profile further provides scenarios and consequences of specific decisions on resource use in the coastal environment. The atlas indicates gaps in knowledge and information base, and suggest priority areas for research and investigation. The atlas will also act in other ways as a guide to recreational opportunities and tourist attractions.

Tanzania is the second country after Kenya where the atlas textbook and an accompanying set of coastal resource maps were launched in 1998. The Kenyan coastal resources GIS database became operational in 1995. The project is currently at its final stage of implementation in Comoros, Mozambique and Seychelles. The Division of Early Warning of UNEP is coordinating the project at the regional level while the project is implemented at the national level by national institutions which have respective Government mandates in coastal area management.

The project in Tanzania is mainly funded through a voluntary contribution of the Government of Belgium to the Eastern African Trust Fund, UNEP, and the Tanzanian Government through its national institutions collaborating in the project. The project has benefited from the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance of the Government of Belgium, who have generously provided expertise in the field of GIS database development.

The Institute of Marine Sciences, Zanzibar, is the Lead Collaborating Agency of the project in Tanzania. It has received a high-end computer, a colour plotter, and GIS software to facilitate smooth project implementation. All along, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association (WIOMSA) based in Dar es Salaam provided IMS with very credible contributions that saw the full realization of the project in Tanzania.

The project will distribute 2,000 copies of the Atlas to Government ministries and departments, local authorities, NGOs, the private sector, academic institutions, libraries, sub-regional and national environmental authorities in Eastern Africa and the general public. Copies may be requested, free of charge, from IMS or from the UNEP.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. A. Dubi Director Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) P.O. Box 668 Zanzibar Tel: 255 (054) 232128/ (054) 230741 fax: (054) 233050 e-mail:

Mr. Timothy Foresman Director Division of Early Warning and Assessment United Nations Environment Programme P.O. Box 30522 Nairobi, Kenya Tel: (254 2) 62 3231/2041 Fax: 254 2 624315 email:

UNEP Information Note 01/35