Inspired by, and contributing to the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) Cairo Declaration of 2015, Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention adopted a Decision at their 10th Conference of Parties (COP) in November 2021 to develop a Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS) and Information Management Strategy (IMS) for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) through participatory processes. Contracting Parties are Comoros, French Territories, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Somalia, and Tanzania.
The Nairobi Convention Secretariat (NCS) is actively supporting the implementation of this Decision in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through the Western Indian Ocean Governance Initiative (WIOGI), the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and the Collective Leadership Institute (CLI). Since February 2022, CLI has been convening the related ROGS and IMS Support Teams.
A ROGS Task Force and an IMS Multi-Stakeholder Working Group – made up of state and non-state actors from all 10 WIO countries – were first convened in May 2022 for collectively leading these two “sister” processes for co-creating high quality, viable, and collectively owned strategies to be submitted for endorsement to the Nairobi Convention COP in early 2024. This process architecture provides an overview:
CLI’s Douglas F. Williamson, Mai ElAshmawy, and Dominic Stucker held separate trainings for members of the IMS Multi-Stakeholder Working Group and the ROGS Task Force in July and September 2022. These first Collective Leadership Workshops focused on introducing two core methodologies: The Collective Leadership Compass and the Dialogic Change Model. These methodologies helped participants to better understand their respective stakeholder systems and enhance their individual and collective leadership capacities. The overall focus was on building a culture of collaboration within the respective teams and better understanding and starting to strengthen the Collaboration Ecosystems needed for the strategy development processes.
Members of the ROGS Task Force engaged in Info Sessions on the Law of the Sea and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Before coming together for the first time in person at the WIOMSA Symposium in Gqeberha, South Africa in mid-October, the ROGS Task Force also agreed to a ROGS skeleton outline and key priority topics for Technical Dialogues to generate ROGS content.
At the WIOMSA Symposium, ROGS Task Force and IMS MSWG members came together for a 3-hour session on “Collective Leadership for Participatory Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS) and Information Management Strategy (IMS) Processes” facilitated by CLI’s Dominic Stucker and Lulekwa Gqiba.
In addition to respective Support Team members, 12 ROGS Task Force members and 10 IMS MSWG members participated with a focus on these key goals:
- Celebrate ROGS and IMS progress to date
- Deepen trust and commitment for collaboration
- (Re)Introduce the Collective Leadership Compass for helping enliven participatory ROGS and IMS development processes
- Share updated draft Process Architecture and discuss possible ROGS-IMS linkages
- Prepare key onward events
The first-of-its-kind discussion on ROGS-IMS linkages was of special interest, with the two being seen as “sister” processes that will mutually benefit from each. It was agreed that the ROGS and IMS teams will collaborate henceforth to align ocean governance and information management strategies through communicating and meeting at key moments in the process.
The above session helped ROGS Task Force members prepare for a public “Ocean Governance Special Session” held at the Symposium 2 days later, which was attended by over 60 people from across the region and moderated by CLI’s Dominic Stucker with support from Lulekwa Gqiba and the full ROGS Support Team.
The Special Session provided an overview of the ROGS process and celebrated key achievements in 2022, including:
- Convening the ROGS Task Force: Task Force ToR agreed; Cluster Teams formed; Shared knowledge management established
- Preparing the ROGS: Strategy Skeleton agreed, consistent with AMCEN and NCS mandates
- Preparing Stakeholder Dialogues: Stakeholder mapping initiated, Collaboration Ecosystems assessed, priority topics and approach for Technical Dialogues agreed
Participants benefited from input from Dr. Julius Francis of the University of Dar es Salaam on “Science to Policy Processes” including guidance on the development of the ROGS. Furthermore, Support Team members Kieran Kelleher and Yvonne Waweru offered inputs on the ROGS skeleton and proposed Technical Dialogues. This supported participants in engaging in 5 group discussions to help prepare specific Technical Dialogues on Plastics, Fisheries, ABNJ, Critical Habitats, and Financing of the ROGS. Each group discussed and then presented results on:
- A brief consensus description of your regional priority
- Key regional actions required
- Who should be engaged in this Technical Dialogue
- What resources may be required for the proposed actions and how can they be sourced
The event was very well received and all participants were encouraged to sign up for the Nairobi Convention Secretariat’s Community of Practice for participating in ROGS-related public consultations going forward.
Following the Symposium, on 21 November 2022, a first ROGS Technical Dialogue was successfully held on “Prevention of, Preparedness for, and Response to Spillage of Oil and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS)” with ROGS Task Force members and content experts from across the region, totaling 30 participants. Support Team member Kieran Kelleher and SAPPHIRE Project Consultant Peter Taylor provided contextual inputs. Key content on prevention, preparedness, and response were generated through interactive dialogue with all participants and will directly inform the ROGS.
From 28 November – 1 December 2022, the Nairobi Convention Secretariat in implementing SAPPHIRE, SWIOFC and WIOGI partnership projects organized a “Marine Spatial Planning and Information Management Capacity Building Workshop” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The workshop aimed to increase the understanding of marine spatial planning (MSP), its key elements and application in local and national contexts to support implementation of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) framework. The workshop also sought to strengthen the capacity of national experts on data collation, analysis and presentation to inform MSP and ocean governance.
This workshop was the first-of-its-kind, deliberately bringing together the Marine Spatial Planning Technical Working Group (MSP TWG) and the IMS MSWG to discuss connections and synergies between MSP, information management, and ocean governance.
The Dar es-Salam event contributed positively to the IMS process, especially through:
- The co-development of a roadmap for the onward process of developing the IMS
- Agreement on a Strategy Skeleton and Framework which is consistent with AMCEN and NCS mandates
- Agreement on organizing Technical Dialogues for IMS development commences in February 2023.
Indeed, both the ROGS and IMS processes will focus on key Technical Dialogues going forward, supported by two further Collective Leadership Workshops respectively for the ROGS Task Force and the IMS MSWG. The aim is to deliver the draft ROGS and IMS to Nairobi Convention Focal Points, as well as to the Science to Policy Platform in mid-2023 for review and feedback leading up to the next Nairobi Convention Conference of Parties -COP11 in early 2024.
To offer public comment on any of the ROGS or IMS Technical Dialogue outputs, please sign up for the Nairobi Convention Community of Practice here.