The Nairobi Convention Secretariat in implementing the SAPPHIRE, SWIOFC and WIOGI partnership projects organized a “Marine Spatial Planning and Information Management Capacity Building Workshop” from November 28 to December 1 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 a first-of-its-kind, deliberately bringing together the Marine Spatial Planning Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Information Management Strategy Multi-Stakeholder Working Group (MSWG) to discuss connections and synergies between MSP, information management and ocean governance. This was the first in-person meeting for the Information Management Strategy MSWG, following months of virtual work and engagement including the Collective Leadership training in July when the group was first convened.
The first two days of the workshop provided updates on advances made in MSP in the WIO region and national level, as well as hands-on training opportunities in the newest MSP tools, such as the ecosystem-based cumulative impact assessment tool – WIO Symphony, and ArcGIS (presented by ESRI East Africa) – a Geographical Information System which facilitates the sharing of marine spatial data. The bottom line from all the presentations on the national status of MSP and discussions held was that high-quality, easily accessible, and readily available data plays a key role in supporting sound ocean governance and management.
Ms. Mai ElAshmawy of the Collective Leadership Institute and Dr. Hauke Kegler of the Leibniz Centre for Marine Tropical Research presented on the progress of the joint development of the WIO information management strategy on the third day. The development of this strategy is being spearheaded by the MSWG; a group of regional experts nominated by the Nairobi Convention Focal points. The working group is currently conducting the necessary background analysis and drafting the strategy.
An interactive session was held to evaluate the current challenges and opportunities related to information management in the region, with the aim of creating a common vision and goals for an Information Management System (IMS). The session was led by seven groups who discussed issues related to existing data systems and frameworks, data accessibility and sharing, key success factors for the IMS, necessary supporting infrastructure, and the need for harmonized policies. The participants shared examples of best practices being implemented in the region to address these challenges and identified gaps in information needed for better decision-making at the regional level.
The final day of workshop was used to identify opportunities for collaboration between existing activities in the WIO region. The next Marine Regions Forum, which will be held for the first time in the WIO, was identified as a platform to continue the discussion among experts from the MSP TWG, IMS MSWG, and ocean governance stakeholders. The IMS MSWG, with the facilitation of Nairobi Convention Secretariat, plans to hold several technical discussions in early 2023, with the aim of presenting a draft strategy for adoption by Nairobi Convention Focal Points at the next Nairobi Convention Conference of Parties (COP 11).
Stills from the workshop.
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