Sherif, Sheck

How can Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) deliver United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Liberia?





School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Queen's University Belfast
Level 3
David Keir Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AG
Northern Ireland



+44 (0)2890 974254


Current Research:

The marine environment is an asset for present and future generations when managed sustainably. Marine and coastal ecosystems provide many services to human society, including food and other goods, shoreline protection, water quality maintenance, waste treatment, support of tourism and other cultural benefits. The provision of these services is however threatened by the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems and its immediate impact on humans. Liberia, for example, is faced with conflicts within and across coastal communities: “resource use and users conflict”; and potential consequences of destructive fishing practices, damaging marine habitats and depleting fish stocks. Liberia is a small country along the West coast of Sub-Saharan Africa with a coastline of 570 km (350 miles) long – and well-endowed with natural resources, including forests, minerals and fish. Liberia, like other coastal nations in the West Africa region, is faced with anomalies because of changes to its coastline mainly due to unregulated anthropogenic activities. The fisheries are being overfished by both artisanal and industrial fishers with conflicts deeply rooted between the Kru and Fantis across the small-sale fisheries. Likewise, mangroves are being harvested as firewood for local energy requirements and its swamp used as dump sites by local and coastal inhabitants. The UNEP report on the state of the environment in 2002 however highlighted significant environmental degradation along major coastal cities and has become a recurrent problem. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has emerged as an essential tool for delivery of ecosystem approach and should add value to existing management measures for the marine environment. This project will explore how MSP can be used to deliver SDGs in Liberia.

It is becoming a norm for policy makers and development professionals to often worry about the failure of well-intentioned policies designed to improve the lives of communities across the globe – with no exception to Liberia. This research study comes at the time when national growth and productivity are continuing to slow limiting the resources available to help the staggering poor and most vulnerable populations. Given strained government budgets and international development aid, it is vital that resources are used in a sustainable manner with attention to human and environmental impacts. The output of this research will however offer a helpful framework for approaching and resolving some challenges faced by the government and stakeholders by exploring how MSP and equity can be more effective in addressing poverty and the underlying driver of governance.