CEDA’s Africa section held its second International Dredging Days in Tangiers Morocco on November 1 through 3 2006 with the theme “Protection of the Coastline Dredging and Sustainable Development”.
Coastal areas in Africa as in other parts of the world have the highest population densities include major urban and tourist centers industrial areas trade and traffic centers. The rapid development and population growth result in increasing pressures on natural resources and habitats.
The conference focused on the extraction of sand from coastal dunes and beaches fuelled by the ever-increasing demand of the construction industry. This activity is one of the main causes of damage to the coastal ecosystem and demands attention and intervention. International experts from 17 countries representing academia and the business world exchanged views and experiences on the role of dredging in providing an alternative source for sand and gravel to meet the demand of the construction industry in an environmentally responsible way.
In his opening address El Yazghi Minister of Environment Morocco pointed out that the Dredging Days coincided with the completion of a report about the status of the Moroccan coastline and with a debate by the Moroccan parliament about setting up a charter for the protection of the coastline. Karim Ghellab the Minister of Equipment and Transport commended the African Section Executive Committee for selecting a very timely theme for the conference. He emphasized the importance of international exchange on the environmental aspects of extracting sand from the seabed as the ministry is committed to increasingly substitute coastal dune sand with marine dredged sand in the future. The ministry would be attentive to the results of the conference said Ghellab finishing his opening speech.
The presentations on the first day focused on the dilemma of economic growth and shore deterioration. The second day was devoted to techniques and solutions for marine sand dredging in an environmentally responsible manner. The conference included a round table discussion with the participation of international experts from government academia and the industry who shared their perspectives with each other and with the audience on issues relating to marine sand and gravel extraction and the environment. The round table discussion concluded in the Tangier Declaration.
The International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) presented their best paper award for a contribution to the literature on dredging to Khalid El Khalidi for the paper entitled “The passing area of the Sidi Moussa Lagoon and perspectives.” The Association of Sand Producers (ASP Morocco) also presented a best paper award to Asmaa Mhamdi Alaoui for “The passing area of the Moulay Bousselham lagoon: operations and planning.”
The third day was reserved for visiting the construction works at the new junction port of Tangiers-Med on the Mediterranean coast. As Tangiers-Med is some 60 km from the city of Tangiers participants also had the chance to enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful Mediterranean coastline of Morocco.
The conference had an associated technical exhibition where 15 companies presented their products and services. A special program for the accompanying included full-day visits to cities such as Chaouen Tetouan and Asilah.
There were ample opportunities for delegates exhibitors and partners to socialize and network with colleagues during the three days in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere and to enjoy the warm hospitality of Morocco.