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             22 March 2000


From 26 to 30 March 2000, the United Nations University (UNU) will cohost an international workshop on "Asia-Pacific Cooperation on Research for Conservation of Mangroves" in Okinawa, Japan. This five-day event is being organized by the UNU in collaboration with the International Society for Mangroves Ecosystems (ISME) and the Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO.

Mangroves, which comprise a group of highly adapted plants found in tropical coastal areas, are widespread in the Asia-Pacific region. Mangroves play an important ecological role and provide a valuable range of living resources in coastal areas. Recent studies also indicate their vital role in protection of coastal areas against extreme climate events. A number of Asia-Pacific mangrove sites, however, are under a high level of stress due to a variety of human-induced factors including shrimp farming, urban development and tourism. Increasing population appears to be the major driving force behind these stresses. To conserve these vital ecosystems, prompt action for the improved preservation, rehabilitation and management of mangroves is urgently required.

The workshop will focus on key issues such as monitoring, research, socio-economic factors, traditional knowledge, and sustainable use and management of mangroves. The main purpose is to pave the way for an effective and coherent regional action plan for the conservation of mangrove ecosystems.

The workshop participants will share their experiences in the conservation and sustainable management of mangroves. Such discussion can provide guidelines for future action, while promoting improved cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Participants will represent a number of countries in the region including Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The workshop and its related activities are also designed to contribute to the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, a global initiative implemented by UNEP.

The workshop will start on Sunday afternoon, 26 March, with a public forum and reception. This will be followed, on Monday and Tuesday, by two full days of technical sessions that will feature a variety of research presentations and in-depth discussion. These activities will take place at the Pacific Hotel Okinawa in Naha City. Concluding the workshop, on Wednesday and Thursday, will be a two-day field trip to selected mangrove sites on nearby Iriomote and Ishigaki islands.

A programme of the workshop is attached. Media representatives are encouraged to attend the workshop.

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For further information please contact:

UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246
Fax (03) 3406-7346




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