Participants of a training workshop on EBSAs in Bonoua strongly recommend the future creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
From 9-11 October 2019 took place, successively in the conference room of the Ivorian Antipollution Center (CIAPOL) in Abidjan, at the Nirala hotel in Bonoua and in the field at the mouth of Assinie, the training workshop on the identification and description of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) process for Côte d’Ivoire. Organized by the CIAPOL through the Integrated Management of the Marine and Coastal Area from Abidjan to Assinie (GIAMAA) project, Mami Wata (MW) pilot project in Côte d’Ivoire, the workshop was firstly aimed at developing participants’ capacity on the EBSA identification and description process.
The workshop brought together several experts from the public, parastatal and private administrations of Côte d’Ivoire, the Loos Islands (Guinea) conservationist, and two trainers – Dr. Mallé Diagana and Dr. Taibou Ba – respectively representing the MW project and the Center for Ecological Monitoring (CSE, Senegal – MW Centre of Expertise for EBSAs). The training consisted of three steps : the CIAPOL opening ceremony in Abidjan-Plateau; the presentation of the EBSA identification and description process in Bonoua, complemented by field visits to Etuossika, to the Ehotilé Islands National Park, and to the mouth of the Aby Lagoon; and eventually the closing ceremony in Assinie.
During the opening ceremony in Abidjan, Mr. François Kouablan, Chief of Staff representing the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, thanked on behalf of the Ivorian government, all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the project. The Minister’s emissary later pleaded for “a collective awareness of environmental problems related to marine and coastal areas” and drew everyone’s attention on “the importance of developing the marine and coastal area so as to reduce conflicts of use, and ensure the preservation of ecosystems”.
Before Mr. Kouablan’s speech, Dr. Martin Dibi Niagne, Director of the CIAPOL, reminded in his word of welcome that “the project aims to lay the foundations for an integrated management policy in the countries that have ratified the Abidjan Convention”. On the other hand, on behalf of the Abidjan Convention, Professor Jacques Abé thanked the experts for sharing their knowledge in order to develop the participants’ capacity for the identification and description of EBSAs in Côte d’Ivoire, but also more generally on ocean governance issues.
At the end of this three-days workshop, three important recommendations were made. The workshop recommended experts to update the descriptions of already identified EBSAs, with the aim of facilitating the future Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) creation process on these sites. Participants then recommended that the project coordination team work closely with the relevant authorities to transform the EBSAs into MPAs. This will indeed enable Côte d’Ivoire to reach the marine component of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. Finally, the participants recommended a better involvement of local communities in the whole MPA development process.
Pictures: GIAMAA Project