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Environmental Sensitivity Atlas for Coastal Area of Kenya, March 2006

Contents and overview, Environmental Sensitivity Atlas for Coastal Area of Kenya, March 2006

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The problem of oil spill response can be complex if a decision has to be made in short timelines of less than one day as is often the case. The know- ledge of the spread and distribution of natural resources along the Kenyan coast would be quite challenging to a command center grappling with ope- rational and political pressure from various sectarian interests all seeking satisfactory response during a spill incidence. In order to arrive at objective compromise decision, information must be available in a speedy manner.

The new product, Kenya Sensitivity Atlas and its GIS database is taking advantage of technology advancement to provide the much needed support in effective decision process for management of the Marine and Coastal Area of Kenya. The principal approach here is the move from static atlas to a GIS electronic atlas.

The development of the atlas by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) is an integral part of the National Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NMOSCP). It provides an environmental data dictio- nary to be utilized as a tool in risk assessment, clean up prioritization as well as in selection of appropriate methods and tools of response.

The GIS datasets include information on environmental parameters and socio-economics data along the coast of Kenya thereby providing vast opportunities for secondary use. Information has been used to generate hard copy and electronic maps showing the degree of sensitivity to oil spill.

This product is part of the Kenya Government's policy on poverty allevia- tion whereby the Government ensures it has contingency plans and resour- ces in place to combat disasters such as forest fires, floods, drought and oil spills threatening to ruin the natural resource base which provides income to its citizenry.

In addition the atlas represents the Government of Kenya's efforts in fulfil- ling its obligations with respect to various conventions on prevention of pollution including the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution by Ships (MARPOL 73/78), the Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS), the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response Cooperation (OPRC90), the Civil Liability Convention (CLC92) and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC92).

This product therefore represents a significant step towards support for con- servation of our vital marine resources.

DR. KAZUNGU, Johnson M.
KenSea, Environ. Sensitivity Atlas for Coastal Area of Kenya