Nairobi Convention Engagement

WIOSAP Demonstration Projects in South Africa 


Nairobi Convention is implementing the GEF-funded WIOSAP project which strives to reduce land-based stresses by protecting critical habitats, improving water quality, and managing river flows. In this vein, WIOSAP is funding several demonstration projects in WIO countries to address various land-based stresses, with the aim of developing best practices that may be implemented elsewhere in the region as appropriate. The Project Steering Committee (PSC) accepted the following projects for funding in South Africa, with the aim of developing best practices that may be implemented elsewhere in the region. 

  1. Improvement of ecosystem health and water quality by implementing a Source to Sea based approach to tackle marine litter in five priority river systems in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Marine litter—and its effects on marine life, beaches, and fisheries – has become a pressing issue for South Africa. The proponents underscore that the country has grown increasingly concerned about beach litter originating from river systems upstream. The project will demonstrate how a ‘Source to Sea’ approach in five river systems in KwaZulu-Natal, can reduce litter generation and recover litter with river basin-wide interventions. Under the project, targeted rivers will be mapped, collection points for the community and private sector identified, and litter recovery and recycling initiatives launched. The interventions will be studied to evaluate how they can be applied to other South African coastal areas. Proponents: Department of Environmental Affairs and partners. 

  1. Improvements in Marine Water Quality through enhanced Estuarine Management:

Estuaries, productive ecosystems with economic, aesthetic, and recreational value, are under increased threat from upstream pollution in South Africa. This project seeks to ensure that marine water quality in the Swartkops and Buffalo River estuaries is “fit for use” for different users (marine aquaculture, seafood processing plants, recreational and tourism, and conservation). The project plans to investigate the causes and impacts of impaired water quality in the estuaries so that it can develop or improve water quality indicators, standards and guidelines. The project will also improve capacity to reduce pollution at its source and monitor, collect, and analyze water quality data. South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) will use the lessons learnt from the project to improve coordination of monitoring elsewhere in the country. Proponents: Walter Sisulu University, Nelson Mandela University, DEA, Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, and partners.

For more on the WIOSAP demonstration projects, click here

South Africa Chapter in the Marine Protected Areas Outlook

The world, including South Africa, has committed to protecting at least 10% of its marine and coastal areas by 2020 under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.5.

Under the WIOSAP project, the Nairobi Convention and WIOMSA have released the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Outlook, the first-ever publication to examine the progress, challenges, and opportunities faced by states in the WIO, including South Africa, as they strive to achieve SDG 14.5.

Click here for South Africa’ chapter and here for a dashboard outlining South Africa’ progress towards achieving SDG 14.5  

For more regional WIOSAP activities involving South Africa, click here 

SAPPHIRE Demonstration Projects in South Africa


The Nairobi Convention is executing the SAPPHIRE project2 (implemented by UNDP with the funding support of the GEF). The SAPPHIRE project promotes policy and institutional reform to help improve the management of the Western Indian Ocean LME. It will build capacity among governments, communities, partners, intergovernmental organizations and the private sector in sustainable resource management and ocean governance.  The SAPPHIRE Project will also support technical and institutional capacity of national institutions and collaborate with other institutions to support knowledge-based governance approaches in decision-making and policy formulation for the sustainable management of the LMEs in the WIO.


National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses

In executing the SAPPHIRE project, the Nairobi Convention has initiated the updating of the South Africa’s MEDA and the Transboundary Diagnosis Analyses (TDAs), developed under the ASCLME project. The MEDAs will provide each country with an updated assessment of their ecosystems within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and also provide them with a baseline document upon which they can base their National Action Plans (NAP) for the sustainable management of marine resources. Moreover, the scope of the MEDAs will be expanded to include assessments of land-based sources of pollution—i.e. issues addressed by SAPPHIRE’s sister project, WIOSAP –meaning that countries will have their first-ever “Ridge to Reef” assessment of their marine ecosystems. The findings will be fed into an expanded regional Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and prioritize areas of concern that can be addressed through a merged Strategic Action Programme (SAP).

SAPPHIRE Demonstration Projects

SAPPHIRE will also be funding demonstration projects designed and implemented to pilot Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) approaches for effective and long-term marine and coastal ecosystem management in the Western Indian Ocean LMEs. There has already been a call for proposals for Component 1 and Component 2.

For more regional SAPPHIRE activities involving South Africa, click here