The marine and coastal environment of the African Atlantic coast is home to a range of biodiversity hotspots and highly productive ecosystems. These natural assets provide important services to West, Central and Southern African communities and are essential to people´s wellbeing. They also provide important livelihood opportunities and are fundamental for social and economic development. However, coastal and marine living resources and ecosystems are in widespread decline due to human activities, calling for management to halt and reverse this trend.
The management of marine and coastal ecosystems is challenging for a range of reasons – the complexity of managing a high variety of potentially conflicting activities in an environment subject to constant change is one of them. Integrated Ocean Management (IOM) brings together all relevant government bodies, sectors and stakeholders is an approach for more effective and sustainable management. The Mami Wata project aims to strengthen national and regional action to capture the value of marine and coastal ecosystems through a dual approach, developing capacity through training and applying State of Marine Environment Assessments (SoME), CBD Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), in an IOM framework.
The Mami Wata project will be applied in the countries of the Abidjan Convention region, which covers 22 countries and a combined EEZ of approximately 4.8 million km2 in size. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and implemented by GRID-Arendal and the Abidjan Convention Secretariat.
Through a number of closely linked activities and initiatives Mami Wata aims to build technical and institutional capacity for ecosystem-based management. The project will develop tools, methods and processes that support Integrated Ocean Management, in close cooperation with countries of the Abidjan Convention as well as regional and international organisations and initiative. It will focus on providing countries with practical means to apply State of Marine Environment (SoME) Assessments, CBD Ecologically and Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSAs) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in an integrated manner that will support conservation and sustainable use for human well-being and development.
The Mami Wata project will conduct a series of training, capacity development and peer-to-peer learning based capacity building sessions on applying EBSA, MSP and SoME. To do so it will work with relevant national planners and decision-makers dealing with marine and coastal management, across relevant sector ministries and government agencies.
Three national pilot projects will be identified and implemented on a local to national level. By working across sectors and with local stakeholder groups, these projects will apply tools, methods and processes on integrating EBSAs, MSP and SoME in marine management. The pilot projects will support hands-on learning and apply practical lessons to foster a community of practice. They will also underpin national and regional level capacity building and policy framework development, in response to regional and international commitments.
The Mami Wata project will development thematic toolkits to support three elements of Integrated Ocean Management: State of the Marine Environment Reporting (SoME), the identification of CBD Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). These toolkits will be designed to provide practical guidance and relevant regional examples for the Abidjan Convention Member Countries. The toolkits will consist of guidance documents and practical tools to support these three thematic activities.
GRID-Arendal is a centre collaborating with UNEP for environmental knowledge, information and awareness raising. GRID-Arendal is responsible for project management and will also provide technical expertise, especially in Marine Spatial Planning, State of Marine Environment Assessment, and Reporting and Communications.
The Abidjan Convention
The Abidjan Convention (ABC) covers the marine area from Mauritania to South Africa, which has a coastline of over 14,000 km. The ABC Secretariat will ensure the integration of the project in regional policies and regional organisations, and is responsible for the main contact with national authorities.