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High-level conference will bring together the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership to mark the African Day of Seas and Oceans, 25 July 2018

Location: Seen Hotel, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Abidjan, July 23 2018  – A dedicated multi stakeholder partnership of conservationists from across West Africa are teaming up this week to coordinate actions in the fight to save aquatic wildlife, which are facing an increasing level of threats.

The alliance, known as the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership (AAWP), which was formed following concerns raised on this issue at the Abidjan Convention’s Twelfth Conference of the Parties (COP12) in March 2017, seeks to end the unsustainable use of endangered marine and other aquatic species across the coastal countries of West, Central and Southern Africa, which form part of the mandate of the Abidjan Convention.

To combat this growing threat, and officially launch the partnership, the Abidjan Convention—in collaboration with the USAID-funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) and Swiss non-profit organization, OceanCare—will hold a high-level workshop from July 23-25, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to coordinate actions to achieve the goals of this partnership.

The workshop will catalyze discussions and identify actions on the trade, consumption and use of endangered marine and other aquatic wildlife. The AAWP’s action plan will be presented to the Abidjan Convention State Parties and will provide an opportunity to share best practices on eliminating the trade, consumption and use of endangered marine and other aquatic wildlife.

According to a new report, the illegal use and consumption of dolphins, manatees, hippopotamus, and sea turtles are on the rise, threatening the survival of these species as well as the health of their ecosystems. The report, which was prepared by USAID/WA BiCC, identified an increasing level of threats to these species in Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria and Togo--among other countries/parties  connected to the Abidjan Convention.

The workshop coincides with the African Day of Seas and Oceans, an event included in the Africa 2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS), which will be commemorated on July 25th. The objective of AIMS is to effectively pursue the protection of oceans and seas including marine resources. It is anticipated that Member States will approve the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership during the workshop.

To stem the consumption and use of endangered, threatened and protected marine and other aquatic wildlife in the convention area, the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership aims to safeguard healthy populations of endangered, threatened or protected marine and other aquatic wildlife; identify and uproot the causes driving the trade, capture and consumption of these coastal, marine and other aquatic species; establish sustainable ocean stewardship principles and practices in coastal communities; empower local stakeholders and communities with the tools, information and capacity to address issues threatening coastal, marine and other aquatic species, including the detection of illegal wild fauna products at the national and regional exit and transit points, and bridge the gap between relevant inter-governmental forums and coordinate complimentary action between them.

The founding members of the partnership are USAID/West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) program, OceanCare, and Wild Migration. Communiqué Final [FR] [EN]

Ends

MEDIA CONTACTS
Contacts :
Joanna Toole, Ocean Policy Consultant, OceanCare
M: (+44) 797 1460 839;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,Skype: joannatoole
Patricia Mensah, Senior Communications Specialist, WABiCC
M: +233 26 622 1020;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Skype: patricia.aba.mensah
Vanessa Ahouadjiro, Communication Assistant, Abidjan Convention
T: (+225) 22 514 600;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Margi Prideaux, Policy and Negotiations Director, Wild Migration
T: (+61) 428 426 479;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Key focal persons to the AAWP and experts will be available for interviews in between sessions at the workshop
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS: 
Abidjan Convention
The Convention for the Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of West and Central and Southern African Region (Abidjan Convention) is one of the African regional Seas conventions administered by UNEP.
It is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal area, and aims to address pollution from ships, dumping, land-based sources, exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed, and pollution from or through the atmosphere. It also makes provision for liability and compensation in case of pollution
For more information contact: Mr. Abou Bamba, Executive Secretary, Abidjan Convention/UN Environment - Tel: +225 027 18781 - Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
OceanCare
OceanCare is a Swiss non-profit organisation. It works at national and international level in the areas of marine pollution, environmental changes, fisheries, whaling, sealing, captivity of marine mammals and public education.
WA BiCC
The West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) program is a five-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to improve conservation and climate-resilient, low-emissions growth across West Africa. Although regional in scope and design, WA BiCC focuses on targeted geographical areas to improve governance and policy over critical natural and human systems. By working with core regional partners, Economic Communication of West African States (ECOWAS), Mano River Union (MRU), Abidjan Convention, and other key national and sub-national institutions, WA BiCC increases the capacity of institutions at all levels to address the three core WA BiCC components: (1) combatting wildlife trafficking; (2) increasing coastal resilience to climate change; and (3) reducing deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss.