Creating a regional strategy involves the active participation of various stakeholders, ranging from academic and research institutions to policymakers, businesses reliant on ocean resources, donors, and community members. This has been the case for the development of the Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS) for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). The development of the strategy was initiated following the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) Cairo Declaration of 2015. Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention decided to embark on the development of this strategy during the 10th Conference of Parties (COP) in November 2021.
Since then, the Nairobi Convention has supported the participatory co-development of the Western Indian Ocean ROGS. Through the Nairobi Convention Focal Points representing contracting parties, a Regional Ocean Governance Task Force was established. The Task Force included representatives of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention, the African Union (AU), the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Indian Ocean Commission, private sector and civil society actors, and selected regional experts. The task force is backed by a support team hosted by the Nairobi Convention Secretariat. It comprises of experts from the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), GIZ, and the Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) and is dedicated to enhancing collective leadership capacity for the participatory development of the ROGS.
This group has been actively involved in co-creating the strategy, focusing on four clusters: Maritime Security, Blue Economy, Environment and Natural Resources, and Knowledge Management and Capacity Building. The task force and support team have held a series of technical dialogues and information sessions on a range of topics including on the law of the sea; oil spills; ocean accounts; blue tourism; marine plastics pollution; marine protected areas; water quality; financing the strategy; areas beyond national jurisdiction; and ports, shipping and maritime security. Technical dialogues on knowledge management and capacity building and fisheries are also planned leading up to the Nairobi Convention COP anticipated in June 2024.
Cover image: Tom Vierus / Ocean Image Bank
The development of the Western Indian Ocean Regional Ocean Governance Strategy is systematically documented through a comprehensive case study. This study outlines the challenges being addressed, thematic relevance, relevant Sustainable Development Goals and Aichi Targets, and the anticipated impact of the strategy on Nairobi Convention Contracting Parties. This documentation aligns with the best practices of the regional Information Management Strategy (IMS), aiming to promote the sharing of marine environmental knowledge and effective governance.