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A delegation composed of Dr. Ana Ramos, researcher at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and Prof. Fran Ramil, from the University of Vigo was received on Friday, March 16, 2018 by the team of the Executive Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention.

Photo: Abidjan Convention

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the opportunity of initiating activities to support research and training on the conservation and management of marine and coastal biodiversity in the member countries of the Convention. This will ultimately increases the knowledge available on the fishery resources currently exploited and facilitates the collection of new data on benthic resources (seagrasses, mangroves, canyons, seamounts, fish stocks ...). Finally, the project provides for the hosting and training of researchers from CCLME member countries (Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem).

Since 2002, important resolutions and guidelines have been adopted by international bodies, such as the United Nations General Assembly, the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO, calling for urgent action on the management of benthic resources, including protect vulnerable marine biodiversity and ecosystems; ensure the sustainability of fish stocks; and improve fisheries management under national jurisdiction and beyond.

By pooling their respective resources and expertise, the three institutions will be able to meet the challenge of collecting data, research and training on benthos.

The University of Vigo has a broad and recognized expertise in marine research and training of graduate students, post-docs and doctoral students. For its part, the Spanish Oceanography Institute has a team of scientists with extensive expertise in marine research in Africa, mapping biodiversity and habitats, and prospecting and assessment of marine resources in the region. The IEO is the only institution with an experience of this kind in the study of benthic ecosystems in CCLME countries.

With its mandate and expertise in West, Central and Southern Africa, the Abidjan Convention plays a leading role in the conservation and management of marine and coastal resources and biodiversity.

The three parties agreed to prepare a memorandum of cooperation on (i) research, (ii) training, (iii) and the development of technical and financial partnerships to better define the framework for their future cooperation.

Finally, collaboration with these two institutions will enable the Abidjan Convention to implement the COP12 decisions on lagoons, marine litter, transatlantic cooperation and the preparation of reports on the state of the marine environment and coastal areas in Africa.