On February 28, 2023, an online validation workshop on transboundary environmental issues affecting biodiversity in selected shared marine ecosystems – towards formulating a harmonised regional framework for conservation of aquatic biodiversity and a joint action plan, as well as an assessment of monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) systems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa, was held.
The workshop's primary purpose was to endorse and validate the two draught research reports. Specifically, the validation workshop was used to disseminate the reports on the findings and recommendations generated from the studies by the consultants; increase awareness on "strengthening Regional MCS systems for conservation and protection of aquatic biodiversity and environmental management in the African Continent; review and enrich the report by stakeholders; and provide participants with the opportunity to share their insights on MCS systems, ongoing initiatives for potential implementation, and future directions.
About 47 individuals representing African Union Member States (AU-MS), the Swedish Government to the African Union Commission, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Specialized Regional Institutions (Regional Fisheries Bodies), Blue Economy Themes from African Union Member States, Non-State Actors, private sector Experts, and Academia attended the meeting.
Ms. Francisca Gonah, speaking on behalf of AU-IBAR’s Acting Director, Dr. Nick Nwankpa, thanked the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) for their enormous support to the development of Africa's Blue Economy through the Project on "Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy."
She added that the Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy Project was developed in response to calls for a sustainable dedicated African Blue Economy development context in which resource use for socio-economic gains is balanced with conservation imperatives, as articulated in the African Blue Economy Strategy (ABES). She further noted that conservation methods for aquatic biodiversity are required to preserve the natural balance and ensure that future generations have access to resources. Ultimately, this project aims to increase the Policy environment, Regulatory frameworks, and Institutional capacity of AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities to exploit and conserve aquatic species and ecosystems in a sustainable manner.