On 25-27 June 2019, parties to the Nairobi Convention held their third Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting for the Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities (WIOSAP) project. The WIOSAP project aims at reducing land-based stresses on the Western Indian Ocean through the sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. The PSC is responsible for approving strategic decisions, annual work plans, setting project direction, reviewing project progress, and identifying additional funding for the implementation of the project.
The third PSC meeting proved to be a significant moment in WIOSAP’s progress towards achieving this goal, as the PSC launched three new guidelines (on mangrove restoration, seagrass restoration, and environmental flows), approving them for use in relevant demonstration projects to be funded under WIOSAP, as well as in wide regional application by partners. They also recommended that these guidelines be tested across the region and revised as appropriate, and suggested that they be tailored to national contexts by any interested country. The PSC also reviewed the eight demonstration projects in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Madagascar that they had previously approved. The projects focus on critical habitat restoration, development and implementation of management plans, marine spatial planning, Integrated Coastal Zone Management; improving water quality through innovative technologies, and marine litter management. The PSC also noted additional proposals under development for Tanzania, Mozambique and Seychelles. Furthermore, the PSC approved the newly-formed Regional Group of Experts on Marine Litter and Microplastics, its Terms of References, and its proposed priority actions, and endorsed collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Finally, the PSC approved the 2018 progress reports and 2020 Work Plan and Budget.
The meeting was held in parallel with the PSC meeting for the Western Indian Ocean Large Marine Ecosystem Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonization and Institutional Reforms (SAPPHIRE) project, due to WIOSAP and SAPPHIRE’s mutually-reinforcing goals. A joint session for both projects was held on Day 3, at which Focal Points endorsed the Science to Policy Platform (SPP) as a forum for furthering evidence-based decision-making. Focal Points also suggested creating a joint National Implementation Committee that would have mandates for national activities under both projects, It also supported further joint activities on Marine Spatial Planning, specifically on the need to establish a regional MSP Technical Working Group and development of a regional MSP Strategy. For more on outcomes specific to the SAPPHIRE PSC, please click here.