A year and half after its launch, history beckons as “Mami Water”, a scheme aimed at ensuring sustainable use of the ocean along the West and Southern African coastline, holds its first Expert Working Group (EWG) meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone from Monday, October 9, 2017.
The three-day forum brings together experts from across the Abidjan Convention Region to discuss theoretical and practical means to apply State of Marine Environment Assessments (SoME), CBD Ecologically and Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSA), and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). As a first task, the experts will be asked to review and contribute to key documents that will provide guidance on SoME, EBSA, and MSP approaches for the region.
Another outcome of the meeting will be the creation of three Expert Working Groups, which sources say will play an important role in the Mami Wata project. The Expert Working Groups members will share their expertise and experience, and provide key information about challenges and solutions within the region. They will support capacity developing activities and provide guidance on initiatives undertaken.
Launched with an inception workshop in Dakar, Senegal, in April 2016, Mami Wata is a four-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The project´s implementing partners are the Abidjan Convention Secretariat and GRID – Arendal.
The Mami Wata project is supporting national and regional action towards enhancing Integrated Ocean Management (IoM) in the Abidjan Convention Region, which covers 22 states from Mauritania to South Africa. The project is building capacity through training and by applying some key approaches in an Integrated Ocean Management framework. These approaches include SoME, CBD and MSP.
The project submitted in a statement: “Millions of people along the coasts of West, Central and Southern Africa rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. The marine and coastal environment of the African Atlantic coast is home to a range of biodiversity hotspots and highly productive ecosystems.
“However, the coastal and marine resources and ecosystems are in widespread decline due to human activities. The management of these natural assets is often challenging, with a large number of potentially conflicting activities taking place in an environment that is changing rapidly. Conservation and sustainable use of marine areas requires cooperation and coordination. Integrated Ocean Management brings together all relevant government bodies, sectors and stakeholders for more effective and holistic management.”
After its launch in April 2016, the Mami Wata project the following year in February 2017 held a meeting in Libreville, Gabon, where participants explored IoM in the context of the Abidjan Convention region. Participants, representing countries and organisations, shared their experience and lessons learnt in IOM, including the tools EBSAs, MSP and SoME.