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Preface Annex 1
CHALLENGES FACED IN REALIZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT
The capacity of most coastal nations to utilize their coastal and marine assets, while simultaneously protecting them from degradation, is lacking.
Although the success of coastal tourism is subject to local security issues as well as global economic pressures, its sustainability depends, above all, on the protection and beneficial management of those assets. The region’s fisheries have scope for restoration and continuing to be major contributors to coastal livelihoods, and the national economy, but only if the pressures leading to overexploitation and pollution can be controlled. Oil and natural gas development and mineral extraction have a potential for increasing the general levels of economic security and human well-being in the short to medium term, but these resources are finite and there is a need to diversify into sustainable ventures.
The overexploitation of fisheries at artisanal and industrial scales using unsustainable fishing methods, and the introduction to coastal ecosystems of invasive alien species from marine sources, are further concerns. Coastal ecosystems, especially estuaries and lagoonal wetlands, are becoming increasingly impacted by activities within river catchment, with deforestation, intensive agriculture, damming and irrigation all changing the nature of material fluxes (water, sediment, nutrients and pesticides) (Arthurton and others 2002, Crossland and others 2005). At the global scale, human-induced atmospheric warming has been contributing to a slow but persistent eustatic sea- level rise and significant climatic changes in the region (IPCC 2001). In the last decade, episodes of unusually high sea temperatures have caused widespread mortality of reef coral.
A summary of the principal issues faced in realizing development opportunities is given in Table 1.