Participatory Development of a Regional Ocean Governance Strategy for the Western Indian Ocean

What and Why

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Regional ocean governance means that Western Indian Ocean (WIO) regional institutions, WIO countries, and other diverse stakeholders collaborate effectively to advance a shared vision of a healthy, productive, and sustainable ocean for the benefit of coastal communities and business, marine and coastal ecosystems, WIO countries, and the region.

Regional ocean governance is necessary for many social, economic and environmental reasons. For example, it is essential to support maritime security and shipping, to sustainably manage shared fish stocks, to conserve coral reefs and biodiversity, and to effectively reduce marine pollution. More effective regional ocean governance will result in a more sustainable blue economy. Regional cooperation on marine science, on capacity building, and on public awareness of ocean issues can make more efficient use of available resources among Nairobi Convention Secretariat (NCS) member countries.

These shared needs and opportunities have led to the creation of many regional organizations and regional ocean policies and declarations emphasizing the benefits of greater regional cooperation. The Nairobi Convention itself was established to enable countries to cooperate to protect, manage, and develop the WIO coastal and marine environment. Regional fisheries organizations support regional management of shared fisheries for tuna and for deep-water species. Piracy has led to an African convention on maritime security. Regional economic cooperation is promoted through blue economy initiatives such as those of the African Union, the Regional Economic Commissions (RECS) and the Indian Ocean Commission.

Regional leaders recognize that improved cooperation between regional organizations and sectors and greater engagement of private sector and civil society is required to address growing challenges, such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. In order to align and advance this cooperation, regional leaders have determined that a Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS) should be prepared in a participatory manner. Led by the RECs and contributing to efforts of the African Union (AU) towards improved ocean governance at a continental level, the Nairobi Convention Secretariat (NCS) and partners have been tasked with facilitating this process in the WIO.

Consistent with the guidance provided by the AU and the Nairobi Convention, the main purpose of this facilitated process is to develop a ROGS by engaging stakeholders in a participatory process. To this end, a Support Team including the NCS, the Collective Leadership Institute (CLI), WIOMSA, GIZ, and partners are supporting a Task Force convened under the Nairobi Convention consisting of diverse and representative public and private sectors, academia, and civil society members from across the region (see logos, below). The Task Team will learn and apply a collective leadership approach, engage in technical sector dialogues, and collectively design and implement region-wide consultations to co-develop ROGS content and foster consensus. Below, please find a draft process architecture prepared by CLI and the Support Team and reviewed by the Task Force.

WIO ROGS_Process Architecture_Draft_5 Oct 2022

Rationale and Mandate


Objective and Scope




Stakeholder Dialogues


Consultation Outcomes