Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Western Indian Ocean

The ecosystems of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) are critical for the food security, employment, and economic development of the countries  in eastern and southern Africa and adjacent island states, including ComorosFrance, KenyaMadagascarMauritiusMozambiqueSeychellesSomalia, Tanzania and the Republic of South Africa . Over 60 million people rely on these ocean resources which contribute to a variety of economic activities such as  fishing and tourism.

However, population growth, unsustainable exploitation and pollution are threatening the WIO’s ocean resources. Climate change impacts, including warming of the ocean and ocean acidification, and increased variability of weather events are also accelerating the decline of coastal and marine ecosystems.

The oceans are enormous, highly interconnected ecosystems that can only be effectively protected and managed if the countries sharing them collectively lead in planning and regulating their use. This is the basis of good ocean governance.

In an effort to strengthen and coordinate country support to protect the region’s rich biodiversity, the Nairobi Convention was established as one of several conventions under the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It acts as the legal framework and coordinating mechanism for regional marine protection in the WIO and has potential to support the development of a Sustainable Blue Economy. The Nairobi Convention enables the political will to collaborate for good ocean governance and ocean stewardship, for a Sustainable Blue Economy across the WIO.

However, fostering cooperation between the diverse stakeholders needed to act against these accelerating threats to the ocean and grasping emerging opportunities remain challenging.

To support the work of the Nairobi Convention, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned the Western Indian Ocean Governance Initiative (WIOGI) which is implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat. WIOGI adopts participatory, holistic, and multi-stakeholder approaches to support regional, national, and local actors to collaborate more effectively for the protection and sustainable use of marine and coastal diversity in the WIO.

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The Western Indian Ocean Governance Initiative

Project Summary

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in partnership with The Nairobi Convention Secretariat
Duration: 2020-2024
Budget: EUR 3.4 million
Countries implemented: Comoros, Reunion (France), Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique (Pilot Country), Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania