The theme of this 11th edition is “Conservation, resilience and sustainable development of the West African coastline facing global changes”.

In West Africa, marine and coastal resources are the bedrock of economic and social development. In fact, coastal areas generate nearly 56% of the region’s GDP. The annual volume of legal fishing in West African waters exceeds 1.6 million tonnes, to which must be added the revenues generated by the operation of ports, agro-industries, the tourism industry and offshore oil platforms.

The West African coastline is also the place where synergies between the coastline and communities unfold, in a centuries-old dynamic of securing livelihoods by exploiting marine and coastal resources and building resilience to meet the various challenges of the environment.  Its conservation is thus a security issue and peace for the local and national communities who live there, and are closely dependent on the good health of the coastal environment. Today, most human activities are affected by global change, prompting these same communities to constantly adapt and build their resilience from climate disruption. Examples include coastal erosion and flooding, two scourges whose consequences are exacerbated by unplanned urbanization.

In response to these challenges, the international community has launched a number of important initiatives. In June 2023, for example, an historic International Treaty on the Oceans will be signed, extending and strengthening the protection of biodiversity beyond areas under national jurisdiction. This significant step forward, which will result in the establishment of marine protected areas in deep seas, underlines the importance of international cooperation in tackling global challenges such as the crises linked to biodiversity loss, climate change and immigration.

In this historical context, the theme of the 11th Forum focuses on mobilizing stakeholders, knowledge and partnerships to strengthen coastal resilience, conservation and sustainable development towards these global challenges. The main theme of the Forum will be broken down into six sub-themes:

  1. Science, local knowledge and policy for a sustainable coastline
  2. Coastal resilience solutions : adapt, mitigate and thrive
  3. Blue economy and ocean protection
  4. Youth, education and commitment for a healthy coastal environment
  5. Coastline, peace and security: protecting and restoring from a sustainability perspective
  6. Mobilizing West African stakeholders to meet the challenges of IMPAC6