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UNESCO joins forces for integrated management of the Ecuadorian coast

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme participated in a workshop on the identification of indicators and the development of a management system for the Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve, which took place on 16–17 March in Churute, Ecuador. This workshop was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) in the framework of its SPINCAM Project ‘Southeast Pacific data and information network to support the integrated coastal area management’. This project established integrated coastal management indicators at national and regional level, focusing on the state of the coastal and marine environment, and socio-economic conditions.

For its part, the MAB programme launched the project ‘Biosphere Reserves as a Tool for Coastal and Island Management in the South-East Pacific Region (BRESEP)’ in December 2014. This project aims to create and reinforce existing biosphere reserves on the coastal areas and islands of the west coast of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.

Both projects, funded by the Government of Flanders in Belgium, focus on the same area of study. As such, they have decided to coordinate their activities and indicators and share the coastal spatial data acquired with the aim of supporting future development and management practices for a sustainable coast.

During the workshop IOC and MAB presented their projects, identified indicators for the development of an integrated management system, discussed needs and problems with local communities, and carried out an educational and awareness-raising activity with local students.

Within the framework of the BRESEP project, MAB is currently working with the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador to assess the possibility of incorporating the Churute mangrove area within the Macizos del Cajas Biosphere Reserve.