International Conference on Oceanography, Calabar
(12th-14th November 2013)
The Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, planned and held an International Conference on Oceanography on 12 – 14 November 2013, with the theme: “Climate Change and Coastal Areas Sustainability in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Regions”. The conference planning and execution were carried out by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and the International Scientific and Organizing Committee (ISOC).
The LOC consisted of the following members: Udeme I. Enin (Chairman), Austin I. Obiekezie, Ekom R. Akpan, Francis E. Asuquo, Sieghard Holzloehner, A. Chidi Ibe, Lawrence Awosika, Sunday B. Ekanem, Aniekan Edet, Ekpo E. Antai, Chris B. Ndome, Paul J. Udo, Albert P. Ekanem, Francis M. Nwosu, George Eni, Jude Udom, Ekpo G. Ekpo, Glory I. Egong, SaddiqKassim, Philip Sofri Green, Philomena E. Asuquo, Lynda-Uta E. Okon, Udeme Udofia, Godwin A. Otogo, Victoria I. Antia, Theresa Edet, and Daniel E. Ama-Abasi (Secretary).
The ISOC consisted of the following members: Jimmy Adegoke (USA, Chairman), Bradford E. Brown (USA), Neville Sweijd (South Africa), Olalekan S. Fatoki (South Africa), Joseph I. Kioko (South Africa), Michael J. O’Toole (Ireland), Hans-Peter Plag (South Africa/USA), Adi Kellermann (Denmark), Pak Sum Low (Malaysia), Jacques Abe (Ghana), Douglas Cripe (Switzerland), Mika Odido (Kenya), Elvis Nyarko (Ghana), Kwasi Appeaning Addo (Ghana), P. K. Ofori-Danson (Ghana), F. K. E. Nunoo (Ghana), Victor Akpan (Abuja, Nigeria), John Akpan (Uyo, Nigeria).
The Local Organizing Committee and the Institute of Oceanography received full support and backing of the authorities of the University of Calabar, especially the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. James Epoke, in the organization of the conference. For this, the LOC and the Institute remain quite grateful.
To facilitate information dissemination on and publicity of the conference, a website was hosted for the conference (www.oceanconferencecalabar.org). The website is still active.
The conference was held from Tuesday, 12th November to Thursday, 14thNovember 2013.
The Opening Ceremony took place at University of Calabar International Conference Centre on Tuesday, 12th November 2013. From Wednesday, 13th to Thursday, 14th November 2013, the Technical Sessions took place at the Venetian Arena, Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar.
Three Hundred (300) conferees participated in the conference. A total of 69 (Sixty-Nine) papers were presented in 8 (Eight) Technical Sessions and one Keynote Session. There were 7 (Seven) Keynote papers. Two of the Technical Sessions were Special Sessions on: (1) Coastal Cities Climate Change Adaptation Project, and (2) IOC-Africa.
A communiqué was issued at the end of the conference which was sent to all conference participants. It had eight (8) items. The full text of the communiqué is given below.
The conference was covered by the media and several stories on the conference appeared on some print and electronic media. Two examples include: (1) A story on the Opening Ceremony of the conference appeared in the The Nation, 13thNovember 2013, page 5; and (2) Excerpts from the Communiqué appeared also in The Nation newspaper, 9th December 2013, page 3.
The Secretariat of the LOC has written to authors who presented papers in the conference to send in their full papers prepared in Microsoft Word. Many authors have responded but we are still expecting the full papers from some of the authors.
A Communique Issued At The End Of The International Conference On Oceanography, Held At The University Of Calabar, Nigeria, 12 – 14 November 2013
Theme: “Climate Change and Coastal Areas Sustainability In Tropical And Sub-tropical
Further to deliberations at the 3-day International Conference on Oceanography, the participants made up of seven (7) invited Keynote speakers, Department of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, Researchers, Scientists, Technocrats, Business Leaders, Administrators, Environmentalists, Politicians, Students, NGOs and the Civil Society, came up with this Communiqué. It is expected that implementation of the recommendations contained herein would go a long way in creating the necessary environment and support systems for resilience and adaptation to climate change impacts in coastal areas of the highly vulnerable tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa.
The recommendations include:
1. Protection of Mangrove Forests and wetlands: Considering the multiple benefits of the mangrove forest ecosystem as buffers to sea level rise impacts, nursery and breeding grounds for a wide range of commercially important fishes and genetic bank for coastal biodiversity, governments should take every responsible step (including enlightenment, education, legislation and enforcement) to protect the mangrove ecosystem. Mangrove trees should be replanted and nipa palm utilized given the food and non-food products obtainable from it.
2. Coastal Waters Monitoring and Surveillance: Considering the multiple uses to which the coastal areas and associated waters are put and possible pollution arising thereof, governments should support (through legislation and appropriate budgetary provision) adequate monitoring and surveillance of the coastal waters including its water quality, plankton, benthic invertebrates, marine birds, and fisheries resources in order to protect human health and sustain environmental benefits. Stringent policies against indiscriminate waste disposal in the environment should be formulated and enforced to minimize excessive transport of nutrients and contaminants into coastal waters via runoff. In this regard, there is an urgent need to develop the necessary framework for cooperation between all relevant stakeholders including government Agencies, States and nations sharing common water areas such as the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
3. Coastal Fisheries: Considering the fact that our fisheries resources have been over-exploited and exposed to various anthropogenic stressors in addition to the potential impact of Climate Change, government should invest in capacity building and acquisition of necessary technologies for the study and preservation of coastal biodiversity and sustenance of fisheries including Mariculture (especially cage culture). There is also a need to continue monitoring fishery resources and enforcing existing fisheries regulations; and implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). There is also the need to train the present generation of fishery scientists, socio-economists and fisheries managers for effective management of the resources.
4. Protection of Lives and Coastal Infrastructure: Considering the real and potential impacts of erosion, sea level rise and flooding on coastal infrastructure due to climate change, governments should collaborate with and support the efforts of Group on Earth Observations (GEO) for sea level measurements. Also governments should establish COR-GPS stations to help monitor rainfall potentials, develop digitized topographic maps and create models to identify and predict regional vulnerabilities. Governments should invest in technologies and capacity for early warning systems in vulnerable coastal areas. Climate change vulnerabilities should be incorporated into Town planning and development.
5. Control and Reduction of Green House Gases: Considering the need to cut down on emissions and reduce atmospheric levels of green house gases, governments should channel funds towards improving agro-forestry and rehabilitation of arid lands. Developing nations especially in Africa should adopt the UN REDD+ initiative (restoration and conservation of forests for sustainable development) in order to retain carbon in the vegetation and soils.
6. Cooperation and Capacity Development: African nations need adequate capacity for efficient studies of climate change impacts as well as development and implementation of mitigation, and adaptation strategies. Governments and states should provide inputs to encourage the exchange and leveraging of expertise or skills with the already established international organizations such the DTCA, IOC, UNESCO, UNIDO, GROUP ON EARTH OBSERVATIONS, COASTAL ZONE COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE, and also with the developed and other developing nations as a way of knowledge sharing.
7. The Role of IOC – UNESCO: Recognizing the need for the availability of long term ocean data in the sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources especially in Africa; and recognizing the partnership and cooperation of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in the hosting of this conference and past activities in Africa especially in the establishment of IOC Sub-Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States; the conference recommends that Africa-wide programme of observing system should be enhanced to include not only open ocean but also near-shore processes (including coastal lagoons and estuaries); and that an Africa-wide early warning system programme be enhanced to include storm surge, hurricane, earthquake and tsunamis warnings; and that Capacity building programme in Oceanography be taken as high priority.
8. Oceanography and Climate Change Society: To sustain the momentum in research and cooperation in Africa, participants agreed to work out modalities for the establishment of an International Society for Oceanographers and Climate Scientists.
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