State of the Marine Environment (SoME) report pre-validation workshop for Côte d’Ivoire in Assinie
The workshop is the first of a series of three workshops aimed at the validation of the SoME report by the stakeholders involved in the management of the marine and coastal environment in the country.
Submitting the State of the Marine Environment (SoME) report of Côte d’Ivoire for the approval of local elected officials, the prefectural body, and stakeholders in the regions of Sud-Comoé, Grands Ponts, and the Autonomous District of Abidjan, and gathering their observations and recommendations, such were the main objectives of the SoME report pre-validation workshop organized by the Ivorian Anti-Pollution Center (CIAPOL), a structure under supervision of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, in partnership with the West African Coastal Zone Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP) of Côte d’Ivoire and the Abidjan Convention. This first workshop in a series of three, held on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 September 2020 at the Assinie Beach Hotel in Assinie, was part of the implementation of the activities of the Integrated Management of the Marine and Coastal Area from Abidjan to Assinie (GIAMAAA) project. The opening ceremony was marked by four speeches.
The first speech was delivered by Mr. Ety Nianzou, 4th Deputy Mayor, representing Mr. Hippolyte Ebagnitché, Mayor of Assinie. Mr. Nianzou expressed all the interest that the local population and officials attach to the GIAMAA project, particularly in view of the opportunity the project offers in the search for sustainable solutions to the difficulties encountered by the economic actors of the area. He was delighted with the workshop and recalled the stakes that will enable “the implementation of a real policy of integrated and sustainable management of the marine and coastal areas”.
For his part, Professor Ossey Bernard Yapo, Assistant Director of the Central Environmental Laboratory, representing the Director of CIAPOL, Colonel Martin Niagne Dibi, recalled the implementation context of the GIAMAA project, one of the three pilot projects currently in place as part of the Mami Wata project, which is jointly being implemented by the Abidjan Convention and the Norwegian expertise center GRID-Arendal. This regional project aims to lay the foundations for an integrated ocean management policy within the member countries of the Abidjan Convention. It is executed with the financial support of the German Government and the World Bank through the WACA-Côte d’Ivoire project.
Taking the floor, Ms. Alison Amoussou, representing the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, recalled the objective of the workshop, which was to pre-approve the SoME report of Côte d’Ivoire. The latter will enable measures to be taken in order to curb the threats currently facing the marine environment, but also future threats. Ms. Amoussou particularly thanked the WACA-Côte d’Ivoire project for its support and ensured the commitment of the Abidjan Convention to implementing integrated ocean management.
The Deputy Director of Cabinet, Mr. Parfait Kouadio, representing the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development (MINEDD) explained the importance of the SoME report for Côte d’Ivoire, in that it provides the State with reliable data for the development and implementation of its coastal zone management strategy, with the aim of better exploiting the resources of the marine environment, which play an crucial role in the economic development of Côte d’Ivoire. “The marine environment, we know, supports, after agriculture, the economy of this country. The good health of this environment is therefore necessary for the economic soundness of Côte d’Ivoire,” he said. The representative of the Minister invited the participants to get fully involved in the work, in order to ensure the recommendations that will emerge from the report are relevant, and cover the essential aspects as comprehensively as possible.
Following the speeches, various presentations were made. The first presentation, made by Ms. Marguerite Bekoin, focused on the GIAMAA project, and particularly on the SoME report, which is a periodic environmental assessment document providing information on the health and status of a number of key components of the marine environment. As part of the SoME reporting process for Côte d’Ivoire, the methodological approach used is a combination of literature review and of the expert elicitation method. As for Professor Valère Éric Djagoua, second in charge of the WACA Côte d’Ivoire project, he pointed out in his presentation the link between the elaboration project of the Integrated Coastal Development and Management Plan (PAGIL) and the Ivorian SoME report.
Two other presentations dealt with the updating of the West African Coastal Master Plan: the case of Côte d’Ivoire (SDLAO) and the SoME reporting process. In the latter presentation on the SoME report – which was produced by the AISA Cabinet – presented by Professor Boua Célestin Atse, the consultant noted that “The Report on the State of the Marine Environment of Côte d’Ivoire, which addresses current environmental issues of concern, as well as the crucial challenges to be taken up for the sustainable development of the Ivorian marine and coastal zone, is an environmental assessment document structured around seven chapters, which makes it possible to assess the state and health of the key parameters of the marine environment, with a view to taking appropriate measures for the management of this environment”.
This report will finally make it possible to highlight the role and the socio-economic and cultural importance of marine and coastal areas, and to formulate recommendations for the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems and for their preservation. At the end of the restitution of the group work, several observations were made to the document, both regarding its form and its substance. At the closing ceremony of the workshop, participation certificates were handed out to the participants. It should be recalled that this report, which will present the reference state of the environment and of social aspects in the marine and coastal zone, will enable significant progress in the establishment of the PAGIL on behalf of the National Agency for Integrated Coastal Management (ANAGIL, currently in the process of being created).
Picture: GIAMAA project