The Nairobi Convention Protocol concerning protected areas and wild fauna and flora, constitutes one of the legal frameworks for the protection, management, and development of the marine and coastal environment in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. The 1985 Protocol recognizes the danger from human activities, and the need to establish protected areas.
At the 8th, 9th, and 10th Conference of Parties to the Nairobi Convention, the 10 Contracting Parties recognized the need to detail specific threats to marine and coastal areas and biodiversity in the WIO region. There was also a need to update the Protocol with emerging trends in international and regional legal and policy instruments related to biodiversity conservation, protection, management, and development.
The first meeting for the amendment of the Nairobi Convention Protocol concerning protected areas and wild flora and fauna was held in Antananarivo, Madagascar in November 2022. While opening the meeting, the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Government of Madagascar, Hon. Ms. Marie Orléa Vina, underscored a further need to incorporate into the negotiations some indigenous and non-traditional knowledge on the coastal and marine biodiversity. She also called on the negotiators to deliver a Protocol that will be inclusive and inculcate into the protocol principles, approaches, and solutions for the sustainable development of the coastal and marine biodiversity in the Western Indian Ocean.
Negotiators, duly accredited by their respective Governments, provided better framing of several articles, clauses and the general provisions contained in the Protocol. Comprehensive reviews were made on each article and new approaches such as ecosystem-based management were introduced including some major elements from the Global Biodiversity Framework, Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 and the 2015 Climate Change Pact. Several other regional and national reports addressing current and emerging threats on the coastal and marine biodiversity in the Western Indian Ocean further informed the review.
Amendement to the Protocol concerning protected areas and wild fauna and flora provided a step forward towards ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the region’s coastal and marine biodiversity. The second negotiations meeting for the Protocol Concerning Wild Flora and Fauna in the East African region is scheduled to take place in April 2023.
Documents from this meeting are available HERE.
This first biodiversity protocol negotiations meeting was facilitated by Nairobi Convention’s ACP MEAs III Program. It is a partnership between the European Commission, ACP Secretariat, UNEP, and FAO aimed at improving environmental management in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Phase III of the program is focused on better management of coasts and oceans and implementation of the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean region. The program will support strengthening governance framework, creating a network of marine protected areas, and reducing chemicals and waste in the marine environment.
The Nairobi Convention—signed by Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and the Republic of South Africa — provides a platform for governments, civil society, and the private sector to work together for the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment.
The programme aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment. It does this by engaging countries that share the Western Indian Ocean in actions to protect their shared marine environment. The Contracting Parties to the Convention are part of more than 143 countries that participate in 18 Regional Seas initiatives.