The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region ranks as one of the most biodiverse marine areas in the world, boasting an array of marine and coastal ecosystems. Madagascar, a party to the Nairobi Convention, is no exception in this regard. One of the largest islands in the world, Madagascar is home to 5,000 km of coastline and over 11,000 species that can be found nowhere else on earth.
Strong and effective management of such rich marine and coastal resources is thus crucial to ensure that these assets are enjoyed for generations to come. Yet much data and information about these biophysical and human environments—not to mention their effects on human livelihoods, economies, and health—remains to be discovered. “If we want to better manage the Western Indian Ocean,” noted Sinikinesh Beyene Jimma, Project Manager of the SAPPHIRE project, “we need to better understand it.”
“If we want to better manage the Western Indian Ocean, we need to better understand it.”
The collection, analysis, and sharing of scientific data, local knowledge, and socio-economic information on Madagascar’s marine ecosystems is essential for effective marine management. Such powerful knowledge can lead to the implementation of an informed, ecosystem-based approach to marine and coastal management.
For this reason, the SAPPHIRE project is assisting Madagascar to update its Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analysis (MEDA). The original MEDA, developed in 2012 under the ASCLME project, gathered comprehensive information on the environment, socioeconomics, legislation, and threats facing Madagascar. The updated MEDA will provide Madagascar with an updated assessment of its ecosystems within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and also serve as a baseline document to feed into their National Action Plans (NAP) for the sustainable management of marine resources.
Moreover, the scope of Madagascar’s MEDA will be expanded to include assessments of land-based sources of pollution—i.e. issues addressed by the Nairobi Convention’s WIOSAP project—meaning that countries will have their first “Ridge to Reef” assessment of their marine ecosystems.
In this regard, Malagasy government representatives, scientists, and MEDA chapter authors, together with Nairobi Convention/SAPPHIRE project staff, gathered in Antananarivo on 11 February 2020 to launch the MEDA process. The meeting served to provide an overview of the MEDA expectations, methodology, and structure. Madagascar representatives presented a sophisticated gap analysis on the data and information they needed to procure in order to deliver a comprehensive MEDA. Additionally, participants debated priorities and agreed on the need for decisive policy recommendations on how to address challenges revealed by their analyses.
“The MEDA will be vital for Madagascar. It can give value to the marine ecosystems of Madagascar and allow us to reach Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of Malagasy citizens and our future generations.”
“The MEDA will be vital for Madagascar” noted Nicolas Andriamboavonjy, Focal Point of the SAPPHIRE Project for Madagascar. “It can give value to the marine ecosystems of Madagascar and allow us to reach Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of Malagasy citizens and our future generations.”
Madagascar expects to have a final draft of its MEDA for its government to approve by June 2020. The document, along with the MEDAs from other WIO countries, will be submitted to the next Conference of Parties of the Nairobi Convention, to be hosted by Madagascar later this year.
For more information and/or updates, please refer to nairobiconvention.org or email Sinikinesh.email@example.com