Côte d’Ivoire has validated its report on the State of the Marine Environment (SoME)
The report was validated during a two-day workshop in Grand-Bassam.
On September 28 & 29 2020, the validation workshop for the State of the Marine Environment (SoME) report of Côte d’Ivoire took place in Grand-Bassam at the NSA hotel. The workshop was jointly organized by the Integrated Management of the Marine and Coastal Area from Abidjan to Assinie (GIAMAA) project and by the West African Coastal Zone Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP) Côte d’Ivoire.
The general objective of the workshop was to present the SoME report for validation by public administrations, the private sector involved in the marine and coastal environment of Côte d’Ivoire, as well as by civil society organizations. The workshop follows the consultative pre-validation workshops held the previous week in Assinie and San Pedro, on September 21-22 and 24-25 respectively, during which some of the valuable recommendations were taken into account in the final version of the SoME report, in order to reflect national preoccupations and realities.
In his opening speech to the validation workshop in Grand-Bassam, Colonel Martin Dibi Niagne, Director of the Ivorian Antipollution Center (CIAPOL) declared, « The objective of this initiative is to have a document that truly reflects the state of the marine and coastal environment of Côte d’Ivoire in order to guide decision-making. […] We are therefore invited during this workshop to analyze the report on the State of the Marine Environment of Côte d’Ivoire, with a view to completing it if necessary, and/or to provide recommendations, in order to ensure it is a consensus document ».
For his part, Mr. Richard Dacosta, Programme Officer at the Abidjan Convention, emphasized, « We all agree that without conservation and preservation of our resources, there can be no viable economic development. All our national economies are based on the exploitation of natural resources. We therefore need a paradigm shift. We must change our consumption patterns, and emphasize the sustainability of our actions and investments ».
As further noted by Mr. Dacosta, the elaboration process of the Ivoirian SoME report was concurrent with the recent and successful identification of a new Ecologically or Biologically Significant marine Area (EBSA) at the mouth of the Aby lagoon, and with ongoing efforts in training experts in Côte d’Ivoire to the appropriation of the methodological approach to conducting Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).
The complementarity of these three tools – the identification of EBSAs, SoME reporting, and the MSP process, around which the MAMI WATA project is developing capacity along the West African Atlantic coast since 2016, are crucial for Integrated Ocean Management (IOM), as emphasized by Ms. Jeanne N’Tain, Focal Point to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) during the validation workshop.
Asked who the SoME report would benefit most, Professor Bernard Ossey Yapo, Assistant Director of the Central Environmental Laboratory (part of the CIAPOL), stressed the importance of healthy marine ecosystems not only for the coastal communities of Côte d’Ivoire and the country’s inland population, but also for neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, which rely on Côte d’Ivoire exports of marine resources for part of their food security.
Following its validation, the SoME report will be circulated among the relevant right- and stakeholders whose livelihoods and activities are taking place in the marine and coastal environment. The document is furthermore set to help guiding the MSP process, including around the establishment of a new transboundary MPA between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, for which preliminary discussions have been taking place earlier this year.
Image: GIAMAA Project