About Abidjan Convention Secretariat
The Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (the Abidjan Convention).
The associated protocol of the Abidjan Convention concerning Cooperation in Combating Pollution in Cases of Emergency and the associated Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the West and Central African Region was adopted by 11 countries at a Conference in Abidjan in March, 1981. The Convention and Protocol entered into force on 5th August, 1984 after the deposit of the 6th instrument of ratification.
The convention provides an important framework through which national policy makers and resource managers implement national control measures in the protection and development of the marine and coastal environment of the WACAF Region (West and Central African Region)
The Abidjan Convention is expected to play a leading role in guiding and sustaining environmental action for the protection and development of the coastal and marine areas through concerted efforts and activities to which Governments and the citizenry can positively respond to facilitate in the complex challenges of the management processes of coastal areas.
The active involvement of all stakeholders is crucial, but the multiplier effect of action by a critical mass of committed parties, guided by UNEP, can provide and sustain the momentum required for achieving the objectives of the Convention for the benefit of all. The opportunities are tremendous, in view of the increasing numbers of environmental
initiatives and ongoing programmes/projects in the region. The constraints are equally daunting but surmountable, with increasing environmental awareness and responsibilities to our global common, one planet and one ocean.
In view of the need to sustain the momentum generated so far, in retooling and revamping the Convention, the following are suggested as urgent needs and initial activities:
The appointment of a full-fledged or substantive Regional Coordinator, in accordance with standard UN regulations, to be located in Abidjan, bearing in mind that the leadership of the Convention is the key to jumpstarting it;
- The appointment of at least two (2) program officers, co-located in Abidjan with the Regional Coordinator, to assist the Coordinator, but with clearly defined Job description; these two should be nationals from the member countries chosen for their technical competence, and with national officers status, as practiced in IMO and GCLME Project to reduce personnel cost;
- The critical mass for staffing presently are the Regional Coordinator, one to two program officer(s) and a secretarial assistant, fully supported for carrying out their functions;
- The present office/bureau granted by the Government of Cote d'Ivoire could continue to serve as the Secretariat until funding permits relocation to an independent Regional office;
- Backstopping for the Office/Bureau should be the responsibility of UNEP in this initial phase, but could be changed later in conformity with practice for similar Regional bodies;
- UNEP should source the seed money for establishing the Secretariat, and together with the new bureau, commence active resource mobilization for sustainability.