Reflecting into the future
The WIOSAP Project held its sixth WIOSAP PSC in Nosy Be, Madagascar between 6-7 July 2022. The meeting provided strategic guidance for effective implementation of WIOSAP’s activities based on its Mid-Term Review (MTR) findings and recommendations. The sixth WIOSAP PSC meeting was attended by Nairobi Convention Focal Points, the WIOSAP project’s implementing partners, other regional partner organizations, and academic and research institutions from the region.
The WIOSAP project exists to reduce land-based stresses in the Western Indian Ocean region through sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. It does this through the implementation of several demonstration projects which showcase best practices that can be replicated elsewhere and influence policy change, as restated by Mr. Dixon Waruinge who mentioned that it is “very important for demonstration projects to influence policy in the long run, in their respective countries”.
The role of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) is to approve strategic decisions, annual work plans, setting project direction, reviewing project progress, and identifying additional funding for the implementation of the project. The 6th WIOSAP PSC meeting comes in the wake of the COVID 19 recovery period, a pandemic that hampered implementation of WIOSAP’s demo projects as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed by governments across the region in 2020 and 2021. The implementation of these demonstration activities has however been regaining momentum, as reflected by a satisfactory evaluation of the WIOSAP project’s performance from a Medium-Term Review (MTR) conducted in 2022.
Making her opening remarks, Ms. Christine Haffner-Sifakis -UNEP GEF International Water Task Manager for Africa commended this opportunity which reflects the desired future for both WIOSAP project and the Nairobi Convention. She said that she was “looking forward to witnessing the making of important decisions that affect the project’s extension in order to accelerate implementation and replicability opportunities from WIOSAP’s demonstration projects.
Some of the recommendations from the MTR include the revision of WIOSAP’s budget and workplan, the need to think of and prepare beyond the project’s implementation duration, as well as the need to connect with the communities whose lives are impacted by the demonstration projects; and more as detailed here.
During the meeting, the WIOSAP demonstration projects’ Implementing Partners got to present in detail on progress, achievements and challenges that they have been facing; from mangrove restoration along the shores of River Sabaki in Kenya, to coral restoration in Mauritius, to the development of a Kilifi County Spatial Plan, and more.
This meeting which will be running until 7 July 2022 also aims to extensively discuss and approve the MTR -which highlights the project’s performance, lessons learnt, key recommendations to improve the impact of the WIOSAP project, and review the progress made in implementation of the project since the last PSC meeting held virtually on 9th November 2021 . The approval of the Medium-Term Review recommendations and action plan will enhance WIOSAP’s implementation.
Discussions on next steps for the implementation of WIOSAP’s activities scheduled for the rest of 2022 according to WIOSAP’s workplans and budgets will also take place.