From 2-27 September 2019, IOI-SA, one of Mami Wata’s Centres of Expertise, organized its yearly Ocean Governance course.
The International Ocean Institute (IOI) is a world leading independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization conducting training and capacity development in Ocean Governance globally. The International Ocean Institute – African Region (IOI-SA), based in Cape Town, South Africa, produces research, policy and strategy-related outputs to address key challenges of sustainable ocean governance in support of communities, governments, and international organizations. As part of the Mami Wata project, IOI-SA is the Centre of Expertise (CoE) for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), providing direct guidance to the three national pilot projects in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, as well as in the broader Abidjan Convention Region.
September is a crucial time of the year for IOI-SA. The month is dedicated to an intensive Ocean Governance course focusing on the African continent. “The course was first run in 2013, and then every year from 2015-2019. We believe this training course is important not just because of the way it broadens people’s understanding of ocean governance, but because it brings together people with different professional backgrounds to share experiences and create an ever expanding network of ocean ambassadors in Africa”, explained Ms. Shannon Hampton, Project Coordinator at IOI-SA.
This year, the course included a series of lectures by experts (from civil society, governmental institutions and the private sector), field trips – including a beach clean-up on International Coastal Clean-up Day on September 21st – and group exercises, which led to rich discussion sessions. Specific thematic areas included governance frameworks and tools, threats to and opportunities for coasts and oceans, marine ecology and conservation, as well as sectoral economic activities and environmental economics. The course brought together twenty one participants from ten countries, and from a broad range of academic and professional backgrounds. During the course, participants presented their own work, to help everyone get acquainted with one another’s field of expertise.
Participating in the course, were notably Ms. Dieynaba Seck from the Ecological Monitoring Centre (CSE – Senegal), and Ms. Marie Agathe Banzio from the Ivorian Antipollution Center (CIAPOL – Côte d’Ivoire), who both came to share their experiences with international colleagues, and to develop their capacities in Integrated Ocean Management (IOM). The CSE is another Mami Wata CoE, in charge of developing capacities on Ecologically or Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSAs) for the three national pilot projects, while the CIAPOL is leading the Integrated Management of the Marine and Coastal Area from Abidjan to Assinie (GIAMAA) project national implementation team.
Reflecting on the course, Ms. Seck, who shared experiences from Senegal on the potential of geospatial data to support Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) declared: “This course was extremely useful in that it allowed me to learn more about the various aspects of ocean governance. I particularly learned much about management tools. I am looking forward to putting into practice in Senegal the new knowledge I gained during these four weeks of training, but also to make it available to the Mami Wata pilot projects, through the support provided by the CSE in the identification of EBSAs”.
“The course has now been delivered 6 times. Over 100 alumni have been able to gain a more holistic understanding of ocean governance and have been exposed to ideas and concepts that are outside of their direct work experience but highly relevant to how the ocean is managed as a whole” concluded Ms. Hampton.
Pictures: Shannon Hampton (IOI-SA)