The Nairobi Convention is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, working towards a prosperous Western Indian Ocean Region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans. It pursues this vision by providing a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions; it enables the Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups; and in this way it helps solve inter-linked problems of the region’s coastal and marine environment.

Brief History on the Nairobi Convention
The Nairobi Convention, which was first signed in 1985 and entered into force in 1996, is part of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme. The programme aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment. It does this by engaging countries that share the western Indian Ocean in actions to protect their shared marine environment. The Contracting Parties (ComorosFranceKenyaMadagascarMauritiusMozambiqueSeychellesSomaliaTanzania and the Republic of South Africa ) to the Convention are part of more than 143 countries that participate in 18 Regional Seas initiatives.Nairobi Convention work ProgrammeThe Nairobi Convention is progressively strengthened by development of a biennial work programme to successfully carry out a number of activities, largely with the support of the Eastern Africa Trust Fund and partners. The Nairobi Convention Work Programme focuses on the promotion, facilitation and implementation of the objectives of the Nairobi Convention in an integrated, mainstreamed and cross-sectorial manner at the regional and national levels.

The work programme is a partnership programme based on the priorities of the Western Indian Ocean countries, partner programmes, linkages between different environmental themes: socio-economic development issues as well as science and policy. The work programme is funded by Governments, through the East African Trust Fund, and by partners/donors. The Secretariat through Decision CP8/13 on Enhancing Cooperation, Collaboration and Support with Partners has been encouraged to encourage collaboration and communication between Contracting Parties and civil society, private sector, non-governmental organizations, local governments and municipal authorities in the implementation of the work programme of Nairobi Convention for increased impact and commitment so as to harness the benefits of synergies and collaboration.

Partnerships and stakeholders

The Secretariat works closely with collaborating partners such as the “Consortium for Conservation of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean” referred to as the (“WIO-C”) membership, other regional NGOs and various national and research institutions. Established in 2006 the “WIO-C” is a partnership between major NGOs with the support of IGOs in the Western Indian Ocean. WIO-C is anchored in the Nairobi Convention, and is designed to improve information exchange, synergy and coordination between NGOs working on coastal and marine environment issues in the Western Indian Ocean region, and to move towards a joint programmatic approach in addressing these issues.

Read more about our Partners

Legal Instruments

The Nairobi Convention was signed on Friday, June 21, 1985 and came into force in Thursday, May 30, 1996.

The Nairobi Convention Secretariat held the Conference of Plenipotentiaries and the Sixth Conference of Parties (COP6) to the Nairobi Convention at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters at Gigiri in Nairobi Kenya, from 29 March to 1 April 2010, which considered and adopted the;

Protocol for the Protection of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean from Land-Based Sources and Activities

Year adopted: Nairobi, 31 March, 2010

Parties: Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of Mauritius, Mozambique, Republic of Seychelles, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of South Africa.

Amended Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management, and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean
Year adopted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nairobi Convention Structure

The structure of the Nairobi Convention is composed of a Secretariat, a set of National Focal Points, the Partners of the Convention, expert groups/task forces, and the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU). The Secretariat serves as the central administrator for the Convention and implementation of the work program.

The Conference of Parties (COP) is the main decision making body of the Convention, composed of experts form each country. The COP is convened every two years to review the implementation of the Convention and the Protocols (a smaller group, the Bureau of Contracting Parties, meets between COP meetings to address issues related to implementation of the Convention). The Bureau exercises decision-making powers on substantive issues related to implementation of the Convention and its protocols between ordinary meetings of the Contracting Parties, reviewing preparations for the ordinary and extraordinary meeting and providing guidance to the Secretariat of the Convention and making adjustments in the programme and budget as necessary. It is composed of The President, Vice-President and Rapporteur.

To address emerging issues in the region, the COP has also established expert groups and task forces, such as the Mangrove Network, the Coral Reef Task Force, Marine Turtle Task Force, the Forum for Academic and Research Institutes (FARI), and the Legal and Technical Working Group. Since the implementation of the Convention, there have been ninth  COP meetings, with the ninth COP held in Kenya in 2018.