Effects of Persian Gulf development eyed

Nov. 16, 2011 at 6:41 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Rapid coastal development in the Persian Gulf region threatens fragile ecosystems and regional coordination is needed to protect them, a U.N. report says.

Development must be better planned and managed to avoid aggravating already "severe" degradation and losses in the fragile marine ecosystems shared by eight Middle East countries -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- a reported released by the United Nations University's Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health recommended.

Coastal development in wealthy gulf countries has been so extensive and swift that "there has not been enough time to develop adequate regulatory, technical, and monitoring capacity to guide this growth appropriately," the report said.

"Though focused on the gulf region, with its enormous new artificial islands and waterways, waterfront cities, ports and marinas, the report is relevant to other parts of the Middle East, to China, parts of Southeast Asia, and elsewhere in the world where rapid coastal development is also under way," co-author Peter F. Sale, INHEW assistant director, said.

"It is unwise to continue this pace and scale of development without careful consideration of the likely impacts on the health of marine ecosystems, and their capacity to continue to provide environmental goods and services that directly support human well being," the report concluded.

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