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Abidjan – A dedicated multi stakeholder partnership of conservationists from across West Africa teamed up from 23 to 25 July to coordinate actions in the fight to save aquatic wildlife--which are facing an increasing level of threats.


Photo ©: Abidjan Convention Secretariat.

In view of finding strategies to fight against this phenomenon, the Abidjan Convention and its partners; USAID, Wild Migration and Ocean Care convened a meeting in Abidjan, Plateau in the framework of the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership (AAWP).

This alliance which was formed following concern 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 the mandate area for the Abidjan Convention.

 


Photo ©: Abidjan Convention Secretariat.

For Mr. Abou Bamba, Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention/UN Environment, this fight necessarily involves a strong awareness because the conservation of these aquatic species sounds like an imperative.

"These species are better in their natural habitats rather than in our dishes," he said at the opening of the workshop.

Stephen Kelleher, Chief of Party of the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change Program (WABICC) on his hand said that there was a gap in understanding threats to aquatic species in West Africa. “We would like to explore how to bridge this gap and how to share information… to help managing aquatic species for future generations”, he added.

In order to enable this partnership to achieve its objectives, it was agreed to make it an action plan based on the reinforcement of knowledge and capacity building of local actors towards the significant reduction of trade, capture and consumption of aquatic species.

In addition, the workshop coincided with the African Day of Seas and Oceans, an event included in the Africa’s 2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS), which was commemorated on July 25th. AIMS objective is to effectively pursue the protection of the oceans and seas including marine resources. At the end of the meeting,  Member States approved the Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership and came up with a declaration.

The founding members of the partnership are West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) program, OceanCare, Wild Migration and the Abidjan Convention.

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Vanessa Ahouadjiro/Kenan Mogultay