Webinar Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction in the Southeast Pacific and Southeast Atlantic   Event hosted by the Abidjan Convention Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific...

DAKAR, 17 Feb. – Specialists from a mix of disciplines and the Gulf of Guinea region began a three-day meeting Tuesday in Dakar, Senegal, to produce regional standards for the exploration and exploitation of offshore oil and gas in West, Central and Southern Africa.

This will be the second panel of experts meeting on the task, in response to a decision by the eleventh Conference of Parties to the Abidjan Convention, which met March 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference called on the Convention Secretariat to prepare a draft protocol on environmental standards for the development of oil and gas in Africa’s Eastern and South-Eastern Atlantic waters, and present it at the next Conference of Parties due in 2017. The draft will also cover the mining of other minerals along the area’s coast or on the seabed, especially as deep sea mining has now become a focus of global debate.

If accepted by the Conference of Parties the draft document would become an additional protocol to the Abidjan Convention and, for the first time in Africa, set regional environmental standards to regulate offshore oil and gas activities.

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ABIDJAN 3 December 2014 – Once an abundant resource along the coast and riverine areas in West and Central Africa mangroves are fast being degraded; thereby accelerating ecological damage and impoverishing further the thousands of people who depend on this coastal ecosystem.

Arresting this trend has become a matter of urgency for the two subregions. Concerned, the Abidjan Convention “corralled” 20 marine scientists and lawyers in Abidjan 25-27 November to draft a document transforming an existing subregional charter on mangrove management into an additional protocol of the Abidjan Convention.

“We are embarking on a historic act on mangroves,” Abou Bamba, the Abidjan Convention regional coordinator, said at the opening of the meeting. “Once complete, the protocol will be the only legally binding instrument on the management of mangroves on the continent.”

That legal requirement, Law of the Sea Professor Yacouba  Cisse said on Tuesday, was the main value of converting the charter to a protocol, which will also cover South Africa.


Photo ©: Abidjan Convention Secretariat
Right: For Abidjan Convention Secretariat
Regional Coordinator Abou Bamba the mangrove
protocol will be a historic document.
decides its own way of managing mangrove regulations.

“It would ensure better protection of mangroves,” Cisse added, “and stipulate exactly the legal obligations and responsibilities of all state parties in protecting this ecosystem.”

The charter was signed in Nouakchott in 2010 by just six countries, all of them member of the Regional Partnership for the Preservation of the Coastal zone and Marine in western Africa, or PRCM. A charter can mean that each country


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ABIDJAN 15 September - GRID-Arendal and the Abidjan Convention Secretariat have agreed to solidify their collaboration in several areas following the working visit of the Convention Regional Coordinator Abou Bamba to the Norwegiannon-profit foundation, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in August.


Photo ©: GRID-Arendal/2014
Abidjan Convention Regional Coordinator Abou Bamba at podium.

He also took part in a workshop on “Visioning our Ocean of Tomorrow”, at which he made a presentation on the Abidjan Convention’s collection of data to prepare State of the Marine Environment reports for West African countries.

GRID-Arendal, an environmental knowledge centre, is heading the Convention’s project to prepare these reports in five pilot countries (Congo Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia and Sierra Leone), to be rolled out. Agreement was reached that GRID-Arendal and the Abidjan Convention Secretariat would develop a regional proposal for the preparation of the State of the Abidjan Convention Area Marine Environment.In this respect, a milestone in the implementation of the project has been reached with the development of a common reporting template to be used by the 22 Convention member states at the next conference of parties in 2017. The template is based on the structure of the World Ocean Assessment, for which a regional marine environmental indicator set has been prepared. [PHOTO IU6A0061 – Steiner speaks at the anniversary]

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LOME 22 July 2014 – Environmental security remains a challenge in the Gulf of Guinea and needs a sustained, robust response by countries in the area, Abidjan Convention Regional Abou Bamba said Tuesday.

“From Nouackchott to Port Harcourt, the lives of millions are threatened by climate change related environmental risks,” he said at the opening of an environmental security symposiun in Lome, capital of Togo.

The four-day symposium is co-sponsored by the United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the UNEP-administered secretariat of the Abidjan Convention.

The Gulf of Guinea is among the world’s most productive marine areas. However, it faces serious environmental challenges such as coastal erosion, sea level rise, land-based sources of pollution, overfishing, and major oil spills that threaten the life and livelihoods of tens of millions of coastal dwellers from Banjul, Gambia; to Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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ABIDJAN 21 July 2014 - Nigeria has been officially notified that it had been chosen to host the Regional Coordination Centre for Marine Pollution Emergency of the Abidjan Convention.

Convention Coordinator Abou Bamba handed on 10 July a letter of approval to host the centre to Nigerian Environment Minister Lawrentia Mallam, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The decision to locate in Nigeria was made at 11th Conference of Parties to the Abidjan Convention (COP 11) held 17-21 March in the South African coastalcity of Cape Town. Nigerian already has its National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA. The regional coordination centre for the Abidjan Convention will be within the NOSDRA headquarters in Abuja and its tactical arm in the south-eastern city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The regional centre should be operational in January 2015 and will coordinate measures against transboundary marine pollution across the 22 coastal countries under the convention’s jurisdiction.

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ABIDJAN  18 July 2014 -  A three-day scooping conference by Abidjan Convention partners to secure the foundations for fish food security in West, Central and Southern Africa Atlantic countries ended upbeat Wednesday. During the talks, Norway pledged support to regional organizations centred on fisheries and the marine environment.

In his speech to the 19 participants present, the specialist director of the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Johan Williams, said support to the regional organizations would start in the countries bordering Africa’s Atlantic coast. If successful, it will be up-scaled by 2018 and expanded to other regions.

The meeting was organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Norwegian government, with the aim of supporting a project to make oceans productive and sustainable by applying ecosystem-based management of its resources. Strengthening cooperation between regional fishery bodies and UNEP’s regional seas programmes was another meeting objective.

This gathering marked the beginning of project preparation, the first of three phases expected to run at least five years, during which such cooperation will be built to improve management as a contribution to food security.  The project initiative is supported by UNEP.

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ABIDJAN 15 July 2014 – A scoping meeting for “Securing the Foundations for Fish Food Security in West, Central and Southern Africa” is under way in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Sixteen delegates are in attendance at the three-day meeting representing subregional fisheries bodies of West and Central Africa, the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, as well as state environmental and oceanographic institutes. The meeting is jointly organized by Norway and the two United Nations agencies.

One aim of the meeting, which began Tuesday, is to forge common understanding of an approach to ensuring ocean fish food security to be adopted between regional seas programmes and regional fishery bodies. Another is to agree on elements of project activities to be undertaken during project implementation. These elements should include selection of pilot activities, subregions or countries, thematic intervention areas, necessary budgets, implementation modalities and process of future replication.

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