ABIDJAN 10 March 2016 – A delegation of the United Nations Environment Programme is due in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 14 March to discuss ways to implement its recommendations on restoring the country’s environmental health after 10 years of political strife and civil war.
The recommendations are contained in a report the UNEP post-conflict specialists produced and which centre on the state of classified forests and national parks; the degradation of Abidjan’s Ebrie Lagune; the environmental challenges caused by unplanned urban expansion; the problems caused by industrial and artisanal mining; and the potential for oil spills along the nation’s coastline.
In 2012, the Ivorian government asked UNEP to conduct a post-crisis environmental impact assessment of the country.
The report’s recommendations followed three years of field investigation and analysis. Foremost, they propose (1) an immediate end to deforestation; commencement of a massive reforestation programme; adequate protection and management of priority zones; (2) reversal of Abidjan’s unsustainable growth; and (3) turning the Ebrie Lagune into a motor of Abidjan’s economic revival.
A copy of the report was presented to President Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in September 2015. UNEP’s post-conflict team that undertook environmental investigation and which produced the report will now present its findings to other Ivorian officials. During its four-day stay in the country, the team will hold a round-table discussion on pollution of the Ebrie Lagoon; launch an official photo exhibition on the post-conflict environment; and begin work of the environmental assessment of the Probo Koala contamination case.
The Probo Koala was a Panamanian registered oil tanker that unloaded 581 tons of toxic waste at the Port of Abidjan in September 2006. The waste was dumped on land, releasing noxious fumes which poisoned tens of thousands of people.