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Welcome to the Abidjan Convention Secretariat

The Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region (Abidjan Convention in short), covers a marine area from Mauritania to South Africa which has a coastline of just over 14,000 km. It provides an overarching legal framework for all marine-related programmes in West, Central and Southern Africa.

The Convention’s secretariat states its mission as to “Protect, Conserve and Develop the Abidjan Convention Area and its Resources for the Benefit and Well-being of its People.” This is a task that the secretariat is determined to fulfill.
Together united

Countries in the Abidjan Convention area

Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo.







Under its articles, the Convention lists the sources of pollution that require control as: ships, dumping, land-based activities, exploration and exploitation of the seabed, and atmospheric pollution. It also identifies environmental management issues from which cooperative efforts are meadows, wetlands, barriers and lagoons. These highly productive and diverse ecosystems support fisheries, coastal tourism, industries, minerals such as limestone and sand, busy ports and oil extraction. However, the region’s rapid modernization has led to the unsustainable use of natural resources and to extensive pollution. As a result, crucial habitats are disappearing.

Acknowledging the uniqueness of the coastal and marine environment of the region, as well as its economic and technical limitations decades ago, the countries recognized the need for a regional approach to meet transboundary marine environmental challenges. Thus, after an exploratory environmental assessment mission to 14 regional states in 1976, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recommended the development of an Action Plan. The Plan is designed to link assessment of the quality of the marine environment and the causes of its deterioration with activities for the management and development of the marine and coastal environment of West, Central and, later, Southern Africa. The Plan was adopted by 11 countries at a conference in Abidjan, March 1981 and came into force on 5 August 1984, after the sixth country deposited its instrument of ratification.

Adoption of the West and Central African regional legal agreements was facilitated by numerous technical surveys, studies and reviews prepared by UNEP with cooperation of the United Nations Organization; the United Nations Industrial Development Organization; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission; the World Health Organization; the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization; and other organizations.

  • Adoption of a Regional Contingency Plans and other Means of Preventing and Combatting Pollution Incidents (2011)
  • Additional Protocol to the Abidjan Convention Concerning Cooperation in the Protection and Development of Marine and Coastal Environment from Land-based Sources and Activities in the Western, Central and Southern African Region (the LSBA Protocol - 2012)
  • The Ad Hoc Committee on Science and Technology (created 2014)
  • Regional Coordination Centre for Marine Pollution Emergency of the Abidjan Convention.

Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction

- Mainstreaming biodiversity for well-being -


- Leur avenir est notre avenir -


- Linking biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management -


- Life in harmony, into the future -



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