A recent paper calls on policymakers and decision-makers worldwide to give coastal residents a voice in their region’s conservation and development efforts.
The paper is the work of lead authors Daniel Suman, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, and Rosenstiel School biological oceanographer Claire B. Paris-Limouzy and collaborators. The paper was published in the journal Ocean Sustainability.
Commenting on the paper, Suman stated:
“The tropics are a biodiversity storehouse, and the majority of people who are directly ocean-dependent live there. Those residents can be described as the ‘tropical majority.’ Yet, the laws and policies that affect the oceans and waterways in their countries are often made by international organizations, international financial institutions like the World Bank, and global environmental groups in richer countries located in temperate zones.”
“We need to give a voice to the tropical majority. People who live in or near mangroves there and have used those mangroves traditionally but don’t have property title to them have, in many cases, lost access to those mangroves because they have been privatized, or wealthier groups have come in and gotten concessions, legally or illegally, to build shrimp ponds, displacing locals.”
On how to influence policy, Suman turned to current UN agreements, adding:
“From many of the international agreements that come out of high-level United Nations meetings, specific goals related to issues such as sustainable fisheries or marine protected areas are already established. Specific goals about equity, about fairness to people, about the inclusion of the rights of traditional peoples who rely on the oceans must also be incorporated. And it needs to be solid, actionable goals, not just words.”
You can find the original research paper here.