To address emerging issues in the region, the Conference of Parties (COPs) have established expert groups and task forces, such as the Mangove 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.

  • Group of Experts on Marine Protected Areas (GEMPA)

A Group of Experts on Marine Protected Areas in the Eastern Africa (GEMPA-EA) was established in August 2000, with the aim of providing a forum for individual experts, practitioners and representatives of regional and international organizations dealing with MPAs in the region, to work together towards improving the management of MPAs. GEMPA-EA provides a framework which can facilitate implementation of activities ranging from technical and institutional capacity building to assisting countries to meet their obligations under the relevant global and regional conventions and initiatives.

  • Legal and Technical Working Group in the Western Indian Ocean

Legal and Technical Working Group in the Western Indian Ocean

  • Forum of Academic and Research Institutions in the Western Indian Ocean (FARI)

Formation of Forum of Academic and Research Institutions in the Western Indian Ocean (FARI) was based on the need to ensure greater participation of the research and academic institutions in the WIO Region, including the need to assist in implementing the assessment component of the Convention’s Work Programme.

FARI is embedded under the auspices of Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) institutional framework 

  • The Western Indian Ocean – Marine Turtle Task Force (WIO-MTTF)

The Western Indian Ocean – Marine Turtle Task Force (WIO-MTTF) was created in 2008 under two international instruments: the IOSEA Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding and the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region. 

The objective of the IOSEA Memorandum of Understanding is to protect, conserve, replenish and recover marine turtles and their habitats, based on the best scientific evidence, taking into account the environmental, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the signatory States.

The Nairobi Convention sets a framework in which UNEP, in close collaboration with the relevant components of the United Nations system assists Governments in formulating and implementing programmes for proper management and conservation of the resources of the region. It calls specifically on contracting parties to manage all forms of pollution impacting on marine and coastal environments, as well limiting damage to the coast through the proclaiming of protected areas, following EIA procedures and restricting engineering activities that can be harmful to the environment. Article 14 of the Convention further calls for scientific and technical cooperation through inter alia a regional network of national research centres and institutes.

The objectives of the Nairobi Convention and the IOSEA MoU are compatible and the Terms of Reference for the WIO Marine Turtle Task Force should therefore integrate both. The proposed objective of the Task Force is thus to serve explicitly to facilitate implementation of the IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU (including its Conservation and Management Plan) in the sub-region, at the same time fulfilling the general programme of work of the Nairobi Convention within its broader scope of management of East Africa’s coastal and marine environment.

The WIO-MTTF serves as a scientific and technical advisory committee, providing technical support to governments in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), through the collection and review of scientific information on sea turtles and their associated habitats.

  • Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF)

The Nairobi Convention Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) was established by The Third meeting of Conference of Parties of the Convention for the Protection, Management, and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region (COP3) decision CP.3/2 Protection of coral reefs and associated ecosystems. The COP3 decision urged all parties to the Nairobi Convention to: to establish national bodies to coordinate coral reef activities within each country and to develop national coral reef action plans or strategies where appropriate. The COP decision further requested the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme to establish a Coral Reef Task Force to co-ordinate w ork on coral reefs throughout the region, including the development of a regional action plan, w ith particular reference to the w ork program of the Nairobi Convention, initiatives and projects being implemented within the region.

  • WIO Mangrove Network (WMN)

The network provides a forum for scientists, managers and policy makers from government and NGO institutions to contribute to solutions for addressing mangrove management challenges at national and regional levels. The WIO Mangrove Network has already implemented a number of activities that serve its primary objective, namely building capacity and raising the profile of mangroves as a critically important ecosystem that supports many livelihoods in the region and as valuable carbon sinks.