On 25-27 June 2019, Focal Points for the Western Indian Ocean Large Marine Ecosystem
Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonization and Institutional Reforms (SAPPHIRE) project
met for the first-ever Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting in Durban, South Africa. The
GEF-funded SAPPHIRE project, executed by the Nairobi Convention and implemented by UNDP,
is designed to promote ocean governance by supporting necessary policy and legal reforms,
investments and capacity building requirements.
As this was the first-ever PSC meeting, members were active in reviewing terms of reference of
committees, annual work plans, multiyear budget allocations, project result framework, and
project management and coordination structures at national and regional levels. By the end of
the two-and-a-half-day session, the PSC had approved the Terms of Reference for itself and the
project’s National Intersectoral Coordination Committee (NICC), whose roles will be to
coordinate the implementation of project activities at the national level. PSC members also
approved the 2019 Annual Work Plan and multi-year project budget. Additionally, PSC members
reviewed the project result framework and recommended developing new outcome indicators,
giving a mandate to the Nairobi Convention Secretariat to do so.
In what will be an exciting new phase for the project, PSC members endorsed the guidelines for
the call for proposals for demonstration projects under Component 1: Supporting Policy
Harmonization and Management Reforms towards Improved Ocean Governance.
Another remarkable element about the meeting was the strong representation of women among
SAPPHIRE’s PSC members. Seven out of nine national Focal Points for the project are women,
showing the impressive commitment of the countries, Nairobi Convention, UNDP, and the GEF in
achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in sustainable LME management and
improved ocean governance in WIO region.
The meeting was held in parallel with the PSC meeting for the Implementation of the Strategic
Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and
activities (WIOSAP) project, due to WIOSAP and SAPPHIRE’s mutually-reinforcing goals. A joint
session for both projects was held on Day 3, at which Focal Points endorsed the establishment
of a joint Science to Policy platform as a forum for furthering evidence-based decision-making
and the provision of technical support and quality assurance for both projects and other
Secretariat initiatives. Focal Points also suggested creating a joint National Implementation
Committee, when feasible, that would have mandates for coordinating national activities under
both projects. For more on outcomes specific to the WIOSAP PSC, please click here.