The development of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS) and Information Management Strategy (IMS) is mandated by the Nairobi Convention Conference of Parties Decision 10.8. The ROGS in particular supports the implementation of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) Cairo Declaration of 2015.
The development of the two Strategies continues in earnest as the ROGS Task Force and IMS Multi-stakeholder Working Group have started engaging with regional stakeholders through holding Technical Dialogues on key topics identified as priorities for the two Strategies.
In November 2022 for example, the ROGS Task Force, led by Mr. Peter Taylor, participated in a technical dialogue on Oil Spills, Hazardous, and Noxious Substances Preparedness, Prevention and Response. Together, the Task Force mapped the key stakeholders and identified measures for enhancing regional collaboration and possible implementation mechanisms.
Ocean accounts has been identified as an important priority topic for the ROGS and IMS. In this context, on 14 March 2023, the ROGS Task Force together with the IMS Multi-stakeholder Working Group held a technical dialogue on Ocean accounting. This was the second joint interaction for both groups, the first having been at the 12th WIOMSA Symposium, where both groups agreed to be in regular communication at key moments in the sister processes.
Supporting this resolve, Mr. Theuri Mwangi from the Nairobi Convention Secretariat stated during his opening remarks that information management is essential for informing ocean governance and implementing the Nairobi Convention Work Programme. This was echoed by Ms. Yvonne Waweru, Senior Advisor of the Western Indian Ocean Governance Initiative (WIOGI), who stated that “this Technical Dialogue was essential for both sister processes to support integrated ocean governance”.
The Ocean Accounts discussion covered technical and data-sharing implications and governance challenges and aimed to increase shared understanding of the topic and generate content for both strategies.
Prof. Ken Findlay from the Cape University of Technology and Chairman of the Community of Practice on Ocean accounting in Africa led the discussion and made a presentation on ‘The Importance of Ocean Accounting for Information Management and Ocean Governance in the WIO’. In his words, “Ocean accounting is a developing and advancing discipline”. He also mentioned that “the most critical aspect of ocean accounts is their ability to show change over time through regular updating, upgrading, and communicating standardized metrics to create benchmarked indicators.” He also added that “ocean accounts can provide valuable information on the state and trends of marine and coastal environments, including the effects of human activities. This information is crucial for decision-makers to make informed choices about sustainable ocean management and for monitoring the effectiveness of policies and interventions over time.” Prof. Findlay’s insights provided guidance on how Ocean Accounts could be included in both strategies.
Hauke Kegler from ZMT, the technical expert for the Information Management Strategy development stated that “Ocean Accounting is an essential tool for Integrated Ocean Management, forecasting and planning scenarios”. With regards to the Regional Ocean Governance Strategy development, Mr. Kieran Kelleher added that “Ocean Accounting at the regional level could be useful for providing a baseline for the WIO, suggesting measurable targets and assessing progress made in the implementation of a Sustainable Blue Economy.”
The ROGS Task Force and IMS Multi-stakeholder Working Groups had interactive breakout sessions that identified Ocean Accounting gaps and options to address them. Outputs from the discussions held in the groups will feed into the ROGS and IMS.
The participatory development of the Information Management and Ocean Governance Strategies is being supported through various projects of the Nairobi Convention including the GEF-funded and UNDP-implemented SAPPHIRE, the SWIOFC-Nairobi Convention Partnership Project and WIOGI. For more information about the co-development of Ocean Governance and Information Management Strategies, visit this webpage, or contact Dr. Timothy Andrew (firstname.lastname@example.org).