• ABALOBI: Case study by UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy.

      Castillo, Nathan M.; Vosloo, Steven (UNESCO and PearsonParis, France, 2015)
      In 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, small-scale fishers convened from around the world as part of a global mobilization effort to obtain equal access to marine resources (MDT et al., 2014). Two years later, these same fishers, with support from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), began to petition the South African Government. Their efforts led to a new human rights-based policy, gazetted in 2012, and currently being implemented. The policy aims to recognize the small-scale fisheries sector and provide legal recognition to this subgroup of fishers (South Africa, 2012). While the policy, which required an amendment of the Marine Living Resources Act, is being implemented in South Africa, many lower-income and historically marginalized communities are still not able to access marine resources fully or derive the maximum benefits from any access they have (Saunders et al., 2016). These groups are either unaware of their legal rights or remain excluded from market access because of prevailing value chain power dynamics, their low reading proficiency and post-harvest technical skills. Post-harvest refers to all activities after a fish is landed, from cleaning to preservation and marketing. The ABALOBI programme, launched in South Africa in 2015, recognizes that inclusive technologies can have positive implications for transforming the societal and economic inequality that is common among historically underserved groups within South Africa. ABALOBI1 is a suite of mobile apps co-designed by multiple South African stakeholders to be an information management system for the small-scale fisheries sector. The service provides an open-source platform to strengthen market participation of local fishers and to record catch data and promote fisheries- related data monitoring, resulting in transparent and traceable data relevant to the sector. After a successful pilot between July 2015 and June 2017 in three different fisher communities, assessment of a small-scale deployment in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, and now a growing user-base across South Africa, the Minister of Fisheries has endorsed the platform – and supports its growth in the country – to become the official catch management system for the small-scale fisheries sector. With an emphasis on usability among low-literate and low-skilled fishers, ABALOBI has served as a catalyst for cross- sector livelihood development among underserved communities in rural South Africa.
    • Agenda 2030: challenges for us all.

      Falt, Éric; Defourny, Vincent; Šopova, Jasmina; Denison, Ian; Markelova, Katerina; Ibrahimova, Malahat; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (UNESCOParis, France, 2017)
      The publication of this issue marking the relaunch of the UNESCO Courier is particularly fitting, given that it falls within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that the United Nations adopted in September 2015. This new agenda represents a turning point towards a more humanistic attitude in global development policies, relying on people’s capacities to respond to the challenges of peace and climate change through education, science and culture, which is an underlying element of each of the objectives of sustainable development. We are convinced that in a world full of limitations — in terms of our resources and our means — humanity can count on the renewable resources of its intelligence, creativity and ingenuity. This wealth, fostered by the moral requirement to respect the rights and dignity of each individual, represents an infinite source of progress. To unlock this potential, we must also help raise awareness of the creative wealth of humanity, and the Courier can contribute to this by circulating words of peace, trust and intelligence in response to the discourse of hatred, fear and rejection that currently spreads so easily on the internet and on the streets. The UNESCO Courier is also a powerful tool of this fundamental aspiration, and I call upon all UNESCO Member States and partners, and first and foremost all intellectuals, artists and experts, to make their voices heard by enriching the pages of this Courier, which has inspired so many generations of readers and will continue to do so for a long time.
    • Aqua-LAC, Volume 10, No. 1, March 2018.

      Alfaro, Eric; Avila, Patricia; Baethgen, Walter; Cassasa, Gino; Chaves, Henrique; Cordova, José Rafael; Evens, Emmanuel; Glantz, Michael; Gutierrez, Alfonso; Laborde, Lilián; et al. (Paris, France, 2018)
      The holistic methodology DRIFT (Downstream Response to Imposed Flow Transformations) and four other ecological flow methods (Tennant Modified for Mexico, IHA, Multivariate Analysis and PHABSIM) were used to calculate the environmental flow in the Río Verde (Oaxaca). The results indicate similar values for the flows calculated with the different methods. The multidisciplinary integration of biophysical information (hydrology, hydrodynamics, geohydrology, topography, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, soil, water quality, ichthyology, entomology, hydrophytes, mangrove) and socioeconomic information (waste, risks, irrigation, technification and temporality Agriculture, industrial and agricultural activities, transit areas, planted areas, customs, culture, migration, employment and tourism) of the Río Verde, in relation to the evaluation and projection of environmental flows (for the dry and wet season) as a measure of Management and mitigation of environmental impacts in the “Paso de la Reina” dam project were considered. The recommended ecological flows in (m3 / s) were: Extreme Low Flows from 12.75 to 30.0; Small Flows from 32.1 to 70.15; High Flows from 150 to 260; High Flow Pulses from 350 to 500; Small Floods 548.52 to 1000 and Large Floods from 3000 to 4000.Flow strategy covering frequency characteristics, length of time to maintain hydraulic conditions, channel geometry, sediment types, water balance at the mouth, and distribution of terrestrial and aquatic organisms along the river. The consequences of partial or total alteration of the environmental flow components are described. Likewise, the multidisciplinary analysis generated the environmental flow scenarios, in relation to a certain condition of ecological status for the river and the analyzed species, as well as the impact assessments, mitiga- tion measures and management plans of the Rio Verde basin.
    • Aqua-LAC, Volume 10, No. 2, 2018

      Pizarro, Roberto; Doria, Miguel; UNESCO Office Montevideo and Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Edificio Mercosur for UNESCO-Programa Hidrológico Internacional Oficina Regional de Ciencia para América Latina y el Caribe.Montevideo, Uruguay, 2018)
      The International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO for Latin America and the Caribbean (IHP-LAC) and the UNESCO water family, which includes the chairs and centers under the auspices of UNESCO, have provided an important contribution for the preservation and the conservation of water resources, both in quantity and quality, for the current and future generations. Since 2009, the Aqua-LAC Scientific Journal is an example of excellence in the provision of knowledge and quality information for experts and decision-makers, providing the dissemination of important multidisciplinary results, derived from complex scientific research developed by specialists from various nations and areas of action. Among the diversity of water related topics, there is an incentive to use innovative technologies and an integrated and adequate management of these resources, which are essential for our existence, as well as the important clarification about legal aspects and the search for alternatives to guarantee water security. In this context, this number of Aqua-LAC, edited by the International Hydroinformatics Center (CIH), takes us on a journey through the “Latin American and Caribbean water integration” through scientific articles produced by specialists and based on essential activities developed and/or promoted in our region. One of the subjects portrayed, refers to the importance of the Guaraní Aquifer, the largest transboundary aquifer in the world with its waters distributed by a population of more than 90 million people, in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. There is a great need to understand how these resources can be used and managed in a sustainable manner, so as not to negatively impact quality of life and the survival of the future generations. The other articles covered in this issue focus on water resources management, drought modeling, seawater desalination and groundwater quality. Water is heterogeneously distributed worldwide, alternating in small distances between waste and scarcity. The consequences of this imbalance can be catastrophic, with the occurrence of extreme events such as floods, droughts and hurricanes that, often cause deaths, environmental and economic damage. This situation would dangerous if it were not for the current risk management programs and projects. At the International Hydroinformatics Center, we experience in practice a great example of how technology can help territorial management. The CIH Geographic Information Platform facilitates access to geographic information among collaborators and other interested parties in the management of water resources in the area of influence of Itaipu Binacional and the River Plate Basin. The platform has 14 categories: agriculture and livestock, water, environment, biota, registration, land cover, economy, elevation, structure, geo-science, limits, location, society and transport. This tool allows the deploy of special data infrastructure using a friendly and modern interface through the Internet. It is free open source software, an essential feature for replicability in other locations. The democratization of access to information provides a relevant contribution towards a more sustainable future. For these purposes, we wish this issue has a wide dissemination among researchers and society in general.
    • Citizen engagement and open science.

      Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and UNESCO World Heritage Centre (UNESCOParis, France, 2022)
      Environmental DNA expeditions in UNESCO World Heritage Marine Sites: engaging citizen-scientists for biodiversity conservation of UNESCO sites.
    • Climate change and marine spatial planning: policy brief.

      Vassilopoulou, Vassiliki; Mahadeo, Sarah; Khalil, Aya; Pastor Reyes, Ingrid; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOCParis, France, 2021)
      As a changing climate alters ocean conditions, the redistribution of marine ecosystem services and benefits will affect maritime activities and societal value chains. While the magnitude of the effects will be diverse and region-specific and vary across sectors, both humans and nature will be subjected to increasing and intense negative impacts. Furthermore, the impacts of a changing climate on maritime economies are yet largely unknown and there are uncertainties and limitations of climate and ocean management options, which are at a very early or experimental stage. Significant gaps in technical, institutional and financial capacities for climate change adaptation between developed and developing countries exist, pointing to an imbalanced response to the global climate crisis. Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is being developed and implemented worldwide as a way to foster sustainable ocean use and management. The spatial and temporal distribution of human uses in marine spaces through MSP aims to minimise conflicts and promote synergies among uses, as well as between uses and the environment. In addition to the many environmental and socio-economic challenges which MSP seeks to address, a changing climate must now be included. Mainstreaming climate change into MSP will allow for improved preparedness and response, as well as reduced vulnerability of marine systems. “Climate-smart MSP” refers to planning initiatives in the ocean space which integrate and may adapt to the effects of a changing climate. For MSP to become “climate-smart”, data and knowledge on the pathways through which climate change impacts marine ecosystems and human uses are needed at appropriate spatial scales. These should address the inherent uncertainties in planning scenarios themselves with regard to climate change, particularly in relation to their ability to adapt to changing ocean conditions. In this regard, the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) will play a key role, as one of its main objectives is filling the significant remaining gaps in marine knowledge, including the effects of climate change. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other spatial marine management tools can also be used to promote specific adaptation-relevant features, while climate literacy can help build capacities and facilitate behavioural change to better cope with climate-related challenges. Increasing the knowledge base on the impacts of a changing climate is necessary. This includes building evidence on the uses most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and integrating their possible spatial relocation in MSP; knowledge on conservation priority species and keystone ecosystem components and including them in impact analysis assessments to promote their sustainability and resilience; and an understanding of the social and economic implications of climate change, particularly in communities highly dependent on marine resources for their livelihoods. It is also necessary to raise awareness on the effects of a changing climate on marine ecosystems and maritime activities, and fostering new behaviours and social norms in local communities to improve knowledge and skills on opportunities for sustainable mitigation and adaptation options, for enhancing climate literacy and promoting sustainable actions at the local level. This involves integrating strategic climate objectives into overall sustainable development and environmental policies using climate-smart, nature-inclusive MSP as a common framework for setting up meaningful and effective actions across regions, which may be achieved through establishing interdisciplinary MSP networks. Practical adaptation and mitigation strategies at appropriate scales, using fit-for-purpose, spatially explicit and operationally mature nature-based solutions, as well as strategic investments to achieve long-term visions reflected in climate-smart, nature-inclusive spatial plans, are also required.
    • Climate Change Vulnerability Hotspots in the East African Indian Ocean Islands.

      Ogada, Tom M.; Partey, Samuel; Ramasamy, Jayakumar; Owade, Ombaka; Obunga, Patrick; UNESCO Office Nairobi and Regional Bureau for Science in Africa (UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern AfricaNairobi, Kenya, 2022)
      Climate change exacerbates the multiple stressors of the economies of African countries frustrating the achievement of key development priorities. Like many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the world, the East African Indian Ocean islands are particularly at risk. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts current impacts of climate change may likely exceed coping strategies making some islands and SIDS uninhabitable. The Indian Ocean Islands feel the impacts of climate change immediately and intensely because of their high exposure to natural disasters and their coastal and oceanic geographies. They are vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events, which are becoming more severe and more frequent (due to climate change), causing damages to property and infrastructure, and even loss of life. The size and remoteness make SIDS and Indian Ocean Islands dependent on recourses imported and tourism revenue, increasing their vulnerabilities to pandemic threats such as COVID-19. According to the recently published IPCC report, the Indian Ocean has warmed faster than the global average, which means the region is likely to witness a continuous sea level rise, resulting in coastal erosion. As a United Nations specialized body with a mandate in science, UNESCO is highly committed to assisting the SIDS and Indian Ocean Islands to apply science, technology and innovation to build the adaptive capacities and resilience of communities and ecosystems to climate change. Over 30 UNESCO programmes in the sciences, education, culture and communication contribute to creating knowledge, educating and communicating about climate change, and to understanding the ethical implications for present and future generations. UNESCO supports policy makers so that Member States can meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement. Together with UNFCCC and other partners, UNESCO continues to provide guidance on the implementation of the education articles of the Climate Convention and of the Paris Agreement. At the policy level, UNESCO supports Member States in order to accelerate progress towards achievement of their commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Organization also ensures coherence between the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, Target 4.7 (which addresses Education for Sustainable Development, among others) and Sustainable Development Goal 13 (which addresses climate change). This publication, which accentuates the climate vulnerability hotspots of the East African Indian Ocean Islands is timely and will help stakeholders identify areas needing critical interventions to avert climate-related risks. We are hopeful that the findings will also stimulate policy decisions that drive investments for resilience building in the Indian Ocean Islands in the East African region.
    • Discover Ocean Time Series.

      Isensee, Kirsten; Valdés, Luis; O'Brien, Todd; Lorenzoni, Laura (UNESOC-IOC and International Group for Marine Ecological Time Series (IGMETS)Paris, France, 2015)
      Ship-based biogeochemical and ecological time series are one of the most valuable tools to characterize and quantify ocean ecosystems. These programmes continuously provided major breakthroughs in understanding ecosystem variability, allow quantification of the ocean carbon cycle, and help understand the processes that link biodiversity, food webs, and changes in services that benefit human societies. A quantum jump in regional and global ocean ecosystem science can be gained by aggregating observations from individual time series that are distributed across different oceans and which are managed by different countries. The collective value of these data is greater than that provided by each time series individually. However, maintaining time series requires a commitment by the science community and sponsor agencies.
    • Early warning systems (EWS) based on educational management information systems (EMIS): Community of Data Specialists for Educational Planning: synthesis report of the regional virtual workshop, 3.

      UNESCO Office Santiago and Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO and Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago),Paris, France, 2022)
      On November 23, 2021 the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) and the Latin American Office of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIPE) organised the third Regional Virtual Workshop on the Community of Data Specialists for Educational Planning The Regional Virtual Workshop provided a group work space in which officials, civil servants and data specialists from 14 countries participated. They reflected on school dropout prevention and on the region’s Early Warning System experiences. This report systematises the main reflections and experiences shared in the meeting.
    • Ecohydrology Workshop and Scientific Advisory Committee: Ecohydrology, engineering for a sustainable world, Institute of Engineering, Civil Engineering Building, 28 Feb -02 Mar 2018.

      UNESCO-IHP (UNESCO-IHPParis, France, 2018)
      The Ecohydrology Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) aims to prepare a global strategy and vision for the next 4 years of IHP phase 8 (ending in 2021), and start planning and considering, in light of the new global water agendas, the role that Ecohydrology could play in the next phase of IHP 9 (starting in 2022). This meeting will be attended by several Category 2 Water related Centres and Water Chairs working in Ecohydrology, by UNESCO Regional Hydrologists, and representatives from all Regions. Youth participation is also encouraged, and a dedicated session on “Early Career Researchers in Ecohydrology” is part of the events. The Ecohydrology programme benefits from a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) to guide the IHP Secretariat on strategic directions, new dimensions, activities, programme execution, and communication of scientific and practical way forward. The SAC is composed of representatives of Category 2 Centres under the auspices of UNESCO (C2C), water-related UNESCO Chairs and Regional Focal Points: • The European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology (ERCE, Poland) • The International Centre for Coastal Ecohydrology (ICCE, Portugal) • The African Regional Centre for Ecohydrology (ARCE, Ethiopia) • The Asia Pacific Centre for Ecohydrology (APCE, Indonesia) • The IHE Delft Chair in Ecohydrology, the Netherlands • The UNESCO Water Chair in Ecohydrology and Hydroinformatics, China • The UNESCO Water Chair in Ecohydrology Water Ecosystem for Societies, Portugal • The Focal point for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The Committee will address the following topics: 1. Report on current and past global activities (particularly during the period 2014-2017) 2. Ecohydrology Demosites updates and new publications. 3. Discussion on future activities and strategies (including UNESCO Priority Africa and Gender). 4. Engage in a dialogue on scientific challenges to achieve the water-related SDGs involving visions from young researchers and professionals. Expected outcomes: dentifying gaps and opportunities in the dissemination the Ecohydrology concept and potential research and scientific questions for future strategies. 2. Highlighting the role of international networks working with ecohydrological solution-oriented approaches for the enhancement of ecosystem services for the benefit of societies in demonstration sites. 3. Identifying region priorities and showcasing innovative solutions and adaptation strategies to address water security challenges, including interlinkages with both UNESCO Programmes (MAB) and other international ones. 4. General strategy to include ecohydrological concepts in national development plans, with priority in Africa.
    • Evaluation of the strategic positioning of IOC-UNESCO.

      United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Internal Oversight Service (UNESCOParis, France, 2022)
      In 2017, the UN General Assembly declared the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). It has entrusted IOC-UNESCO with the design and delivery of the Decade to ensure that ocean science is indeed underpinning sustainable ocean management and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda more broadly. Fulfilling its mandate as trustee of the Ocean Decade, as well as delivering on a growing list of additional roles, in an oceanographic space that is both expanding and increasingly crowded, establishes an important opportunity but also an overarching challenge for IOC-UNESCO. In the context of the upcoming UN Decade of the Ocean, the IOC-UNESCO agreed with the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) on the merit of conducting an evaluation of its strategic positioning within the UN system and the broader landscape of ocean-related actors and programmes, taking into account relevant enabling policy frameworks to which the work of the Commission responds.
    • Evaluation of UNESCO's Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology Programme.

      UNESCO Internal Oversight Service (UNESCO-Internal Oversight ServiceParis, France, 2017)
      Since the 1990s UNESCO has been a leading UN Organization in Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology. It developed a number of international normative instruments, which were adopted by expert advisory bodies and became the basis for two global capacity building programmes (Assisting Bioethics Committees (ABC) and Ethics Education Programme (EEP)) that are managed by Headquarters and implemented with the support of Field Offices. This evaluation examined how the Organization’s Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology Programme had been designed and implemented during 2010-2016, as well as the results achieved with the aim of suggesting improvements. The evaluation found that past and current normative work continues to drive the programme. UNESCO also provides a global forum for reflection on Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology through its advisory bodies, though the working methods of the latter require review. Its capacity building programmes are relevant, but not sufficiently demand-driven and require different delivery modalities. The Organization’s partnerships in the field are underutilized and their full potential not yet realized.
    • Evaluation of UNESCO’s Strategy for Action on Climate Change (2018-2021).

      Smith, Laila; Abitbol, Eric; Allard-Buffoni, Florence; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Internal Oversight Office (IOS), Evaluation Office (UNESCO-Internal Oversight ServiceParis, France, 2021)
      In 2017, the UNESCO General Conference adopted the Strategy for Action on Climate Change (SACC) which outlined UNESCO’s four-point strategy to support Member States adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects on their citizens and territories over the period 2018-2021. As the Strategy comes to an end, the Organization has commissioned an evaluation to assess its effectiveness and determine whether it should be renewed. Owing to its careful alignment with existing international reference frameworks in the area of climate change, in particular the 2015 Paris Agreement, the Strategy has successfully positioned UNESCO as a contributor in this field and the Organization’s insights on climate change within the framework of its specific areas of expertise is valued by partners and Member States alike. In the 3 years of the Strategy’s existence, the Organization produced knowledge products and undertook multiple interventions, especially targeting UNESCO’s priority groups (Africa, women, indigenous peoples, SIDS, youth) and ensuring their involvement in policy development and trainings. However, it is difficult to measure the effects of these activities or even attribute their results to the SACC specifically. Indeed, while the SACC has had the merit of giving UNESCO the political legitimacy and strategic guidance to act on climate-related issues, most of these activities were embedded in UNESCO’s existing programmes and have been largely reported against the different Major Programmes’ and IOC’s expected results. This is further amplified by the lack of a dedicated budget to implement the Strategy, which has led to an overreliance on ad hoc fundraising efforts to attract extrabudgetary resources and diverging implementation strategies depending on local context and Sectors’ priorities. Although the SACC aimed to encourage greater in-house cooperation to achieve its objectives, the evaluation found that, despite the existence of a large cross-sectoral Task Team, the SACC has failed to fully foster intersectoriality. As a result, whilst UNESCO has registered significant achievements and made important contributions, its action on climate change has not necessarily been cohesive.
    • Flood Management through flood forecasting and early warning system.

      Rehman, Atta-Ur; Ali, Amjad (University of Peshawar, Centre for Disaster Preparedness and ManagementIslamabad, Pakistan, 2018)
      The manual is focused to understand the basic concepts of disaster management and status of disasters in Pakistan. This manual intends to explore flood phenomenon and its effects on the lives and livelihoods of people in Pakistan. The manual also enable the participants to encompass the flood risk assessment for effective forecasting and early warning system in Pakistan. Furthermore, it shares the knowledge of appropriate actions for flood management both in pre and post flood emergency situations.
    • Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS): the Biology and Ecosystems Panel.

      Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC of UNESCOParis, France, 2015)
      Flyer for the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)
    • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC).

      Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC of UNESCOParis, France, 2016)
      Brochure on the activities of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC)
    • IOC Capacity Development Compendium Survey : IOC Circular Letter.

      Troisi, Ariel; Evans, Alan; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOCParis, France, 2022-01-10)
      Established at the 3rd meeting of the GE-CD in December 2021, the Working Group on the revision of the IOC CD Strategy started discussions and noted at its first meeting in January 2022 the need to: (i) capture current CD initiatives by individual Member States, global and regional programmes, and other organizations/institutions; and (ii) make this information available as an ongoing service to Member States. The Working Group proposed the creation of an ocean science related ‘Capacity Development Compendium'
    • The Large Marine Ecosystem Approach: an Engine for Achieving SDG 14.

      Henshaw, Taylor; GEF LME:LEARN (UNESCOParis, France, 2017)
      A combination of anthropogenic and natural pressures is impacting the health and productivity of LMEs, compromising the sustainability of LME ecosystem services. These pressures are accelerating, and without concerted action their impacts could become irreversible.
    • Nature and people in the Socotra Archipelago.

      Van Damme, Kay; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Doha (UNESCO Office in DohaDoha, Qatar, 2022)
      Unique Islands with a Rich Natural and Cultural Heritage The Socotra Archipelago is a true treasure of Yemen, located in the western Indian Ocean near the Horn of Africa. This ancient and until recently relatively isolated part of the Arabian Peninsula is known for its exceptional biodiversity on land and in the sea. Socotra’s iconic Dragon’s Blood Trees are known worldwide and symbolize a close bond between nature and the indigenous inhabitants of the island who depend on it, and who speak their unique, endangered language. Due to its remarkable and highly vulnerable island ecosystems containing many endemics, the Socotra Archipelago was designated as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) Reserve in 2003, a Ramsar Site in 2007 (Detwah Lagoon) and then as UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 2008. These remarkable designations came primarily as recognition of Socotra’s outstanding biodiversity richness, characterised by a high proportion of unique species living in special island habitats. In addition, the cultural landscape of Socotra has been gently shaped through natural and human influences over several millennia. However, a recent decline of that vital bond, combined with the devastating effects of climate change, unsustainable resources use and other impacts, have affected life on these islands for humans, plants and animals alike. This richly illustrated publication, based on the currently available scientific knowledge and stories from the island’s inhabitants, provides a brief overview of the rich biodiversity of the Socotra Archipelago Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, highlighting the vital bond between humans and nature. Challenges are highlighted as well as inspiring stories of hope, examples where the Socotran people are taking the lead in protecting their environment and culture. These examples of the unique, yet fragile bond between people and nature in Socotra can be regarded as an inspiration worldwide, as many unique areas are facing similar challenges that are affecting the natural and cultural heritage.
    • Observation of Harmful Algal Blooms with Ocean Colour Radiometry.

      Bernard, Stewart; Kudela, Raphael; Robertson Lain, Lisl; Pitcher, Grant; International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (International Ocean-Colour Coordinating GroupDartmouth, Canada, 2021)
      Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in virtually all coastal regions of the world as well as many lakes, and are typically associated with a rapid proliferation of phytoplankton cells, but even low cell numbers of highly toxic species may cause harmful e ects in the ecosystem and/or the surrounding environment. Dense algal blooms produce a significant phytoplankton contribution to the water body’s optical signal, making HAB applications an instinctively attractive one for ocean colour radiometry. Indeed, there exists some spectacular satellite imagery of algal blooms the world over (e.g., Figure 1.1). But beyond the attractiveness of the imagery, this monograph addresses the extent to which ocean colour radiometry can inform scientifically in HAB regions, both towards answering research questions as well as for use in the operational detection and management systems necessary for the mitigation of harmful health, economic and recreational impacts of HABs. The potential for harm caused by these blooms is two-fold: in the first instance, the algal assemblage itself may contain toxins poisonous to organisms. Aquatic and non-aquatic animals alike can be a ected by these toxins, which tend to increase through successive trophic levels, accumulating up the food chain. These organisms (primarily dinoflagellates and diatoms) and the nature of their impacts, including paralytic shellfish poisoning, amnesic shellfish poisoning and neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, are described in Chapters 4, 5 and 6. Another set of toxin-containing HABs are the high-biomass cyanobacterial blooms which frequently occur in lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal seas, and are considered harmful for diverse reasons including contamination of drinking water, concentration of toxins in higher trophic level organisms (e.g., health of cattle and wildlife), and the associated reduction of the recreational, economic and ecological value of a ected water bodies. Cyanobacterial blooms are increasing in frequency and intensity, perhaps in response to climate change. Several case studies of remote sensing of cyanobacteria blooms in lakes as well as in the Baltic Sea are discussed in Chapter 7. The other mechanism by which harm may be caused is by the algal biomass growing so large, and the phytoplankton bloom so dense, that it impacts the health of the ecosystem by other biophysical means while not actually comprising toxic species. Dense blooms can clog the gills of fish and invertebrates as described in Chapter 8. One of the most serious environmental consequences of a dense bloom is that of anoxia — where oxygen is depleted by respiration and decay to such an extent that all oxygen-dependent organisms in the ecosystem are a ected (Pitcher and Jacinto 2019). Those that are mobile move away from the oxygen-depleted water, whether into an una ected area of the ocean or out of the water altogether e.g., lobster walkouts. These impacts are described in Chapter 9. Also discussed in this chapter is a sub-category of non-toxic harmful blooms called ecologically disruptive algal blooms (EDABs), comprising certain small-celled algal species which disrupt trophic dynamics by non-chemical means. This chapter presents case studies where the aquaculture industry is impacted by blooms of this type, as well as blooms that threaten the ecological health of subtropical estuaries. This IOCCG monograph addresses both groups of HABs in the context of the use of satellite ocean colour data to detect, identify, monitor, manage and project/predict HAB events. HABs, while anomalous by definition, are in some regions a normal occasional occurrence in perfectly healthy ecosystems. Many areas are subject to physical and biophysical forcing which primes these systems for regular seasonal HABs. Other HAB events may occur suddenly and unexpectedly, for example as a result of unusual nutrient inputs. Yet other HABs are fairly persistent in their presence and intensity, for example cyanobacterial populations in inland water bodies in China, Europe and Southern Africa (see Chapter 7). Each HAB system has its own unique forcings and resultant character, making a one-size-fits-all approach to satellite data use highly challenging. With increasingly large proportions of global populations living in proximity to HAB-vulnerable water bodies, the societal impact of HABs is increasing as well. Drinking and agricultural water supplies are under increasing pressure across the globe, and eutrophication of these water sources is one of the most pressing freshwater problems we face today. This has resulted in demand for operational HAB monitoring and management systems to predict, observe and mitigate the e ects of HAB events. Chapter 10 presents some examples of the development and implementation of such systems. In the context of climate change, an increase in the frequency and intensity of HABs is anticipated in many regions of the world, and is specifically of great concern in areas used for aquaculture to support food security and economic sustainability. proximity to HAB-vulnerable water bodies, the societal impact of HABs is increasing as well. Drinking and agricultural water supplies are under increasing pressure across the globe, and eutrophication of these water sources is one of the most pressing freshwater problems we face today. This has resulted in demand for operational HAB monitoring and management systems to predict, observe and mitigate the e ects of HAB events. Chapter 10 presents some examples of the development and implementation of such systems. In the context of climate change, an increase in the frequency and intensity of HABs is anticipated in many regions of the world, and is specifically of great concern in areas used for aquaculture to support food security and economic sustainability.