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The convention


The Convention for the Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (Abidjan Convention).The Action Plan and the Abidjan Convention were adopted by the Governments in 1981; the Convention entered into force in 1984.

The Abidjan Convention covers the marine environment, coastal zones and related inland waters falling within the jurisdiction of the States of the West and Central African Region, from Mauritania to Namibia inclusive, which have become Contracting Parties to the Convention. The Abidjan Convention countries are: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The Contracting Parties of the Convention designated Cote d’Ivoire as the Depository, and the United Nations Environment Programme as the Secretariat. The Regional Coordinating Unit is based in Abidjan.

The Abidjan Convention is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas. It lists the sources of pollution which require control:- pollution from ships, dumping, land based sources, exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed, and pollution from or through the atmosphere.

It also identifies environmental management issues from which co-operative efforts are to be made: coastal erosion, specially protected areas, combating pollution in cases of emergency; and environmental impact assessment. There are also articles on scientific and technological co-operation and liability and compensation.

The adoption of the West and Central African regional legal agreements was facilitated by numerous technical surveys, studies and reviews prepared by UNEP with co-operation of UN, UNIDO, FAO, UNESCO, IOC, WHO, IMCO and other organizations.

Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention

The activities of the Abidjan Convention are coordinated directly by the Nairobi-based Joint Implementation Unit of the Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions and the Abidjan-based Regional Coordination Unit will increasingly be coordinated at the regional level through collaborations and partnership between the Convention and the GEF-sponsored Large Marine Ecosystem projects under implementation in the Convention area. The Convention designated Cote d’Ivoire as the Depository, and UNEP as the Secretariat. The Regional Coordinating Unit is based in Abidjan.

Armed with renewed goodwill from the Contracting Parties, together with the opportunities presented through other initiatives such as the African Process for the Development and Management of the Coastal and Marine Resources and the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD).The Abidjan Convention also hopes to learn and benefit from the family of Regional Seas programmes such as the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) region.