The workshop developed regional capacity to support Marine Spatial Planning training needs across the region.
Since 2015, the MAMI WATA (MW) project has been supporting Integrated Ocean Management across the Abidjan Convention region. Capacity development has been a core foundation of the project, and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) one of the tools implemented to sustainably manage marine and coastal areas. Over the past seven years, partnerships between the MW project and diverse institutions in West and Southern Africa (e.g., the Ecological Monitoring Centre – Senegal; the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana; and the International Ocean Institute – South Africa) promoted numerous trainings to develop institutional and technical MSP capacities of African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the last events organized by the MW project was the Training of Trainers in MSP, held in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) in late May 2022. Using the Blue Planning in Practice course, the workshop aimed to develop the training and facilitation skills needed to strengthen MSP capacities in coastal West African countries. Participants from Algeria, Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, and Togo benefited from the training, which was organised by GRID-Arendal, the Abidjan Convention, the French NGO Des Requins et Des Hommes, and the Ecological Monitoring Centre of Dakar.
Over the six days of training, participants learnt the theory and practice of MSP (e.g., process design; stakeholder participation; analysis of current and future conditions; drafting the spatial plan; etc.) through practical exercises, feedback, and reflection. Participants also became knowledgeable about various active education methods and techniques (e.g., case method; field visit; co-management; check-in/out). Moreover, they practiced a range of facilitation skills (e.g., visualisation, energizers, team building, etc.) and used a diverse set of tools (e.g., paper maps; virtual whiteboards; and the online mapping tool SeaSketch). Lastly, as trainers, they experienced the preparation of a full training programme and the simulation of a training session.
During the final day of the training, participants received their diploma as MSP instructors. 13 new trainers are now ready to respond to current and future capacity development needs in MSP and to support these processes across West Africa. The new trainers are key to helping preserve the health and productivity of the region’s marine waters.
Images: Mario Caña (GRID-Arendal), André N’gorah, Ndickou Gaye (Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar), Barthélémy Batieno (IUCN)