Back in 1985 when the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) was still pristine, leaders of the region together with several partners had the foresight to create a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions to enable better management of their shared marine space. This collaboration was an important step in getting the countries of the region to address common priorities through a mechanism that was legally binding with the aim of achieving long-term sustainable measures.
The United Nations Environment Programme hosted the 1985 conference of plenipotentiaries for the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of Coastal and Marine Environment of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. The Convention entered into force in 1996 with a great vision of a prosperous Western Indian Ocean region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans. To realise the vision, the Convention aimed at increasing the capacity of the Western Indian Ocean nations to protect, manage, and develop their coastal and marine environment.
The Nairobi Convention is part of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme. It 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 Nairobi Convention—signed by Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and the Republic of South Africa — provides a platform for governments, civil society, and the private sector to work together for the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment. The Contracting Parties to the Convention are part of more than 143 countries that participate in 18 Regional Seas initiatives.