Political will and mandate to develop a Regional Ocean Governance Strategy

Political leaders of the WIO countries have recognised that cooperation among regional organisations and across sectors, including greater engagement of the private sector and civil society, is required to address growing regional challenges such as marine and coastal conservation, marine plastic pollution, climate change, response to disasters like oil spills or cyclones etc.

A series of successive policy processes, including the 2015 call by African Union (AU) for the development of an African Regional Ocean Governance Strategy through the Cairo Declaration of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), the 2017 Libreville Declaration of AMCEN, and a baseline study on WIO Ocean Governance, led to the mandate for the development of WIO’s Regional Ocean Governance Strategy at the 2021 Conference of Parties to the Nairobi Convention (NC) (Decision CP.10/5). In response, the Nairobi Convention Secretariat convened a Support Team to help guide a participatory development of the WIO ROGS by working with representatives of the NC Contracting Parties, the AU, the WIO’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Indian Ocean Commission, private sector and civil society actors in a Regional Ocean Governance Strategy Task Force.

  • Having a high-level political mandate is an important success factor for engaging in a multi-stakeholder, participatory process for regional strategy development

  • Selection  of Task Force members by countries, the AU and the RECS, and thus country participation in the creation of the strategy

  • Financial support from regionally endorsed projects and partners

  • Coordinating and covening ability of the NCS

  • Long process leading to the adoption of the decision in 2021 and protracted preparation period due to the wide scope and diversity of sectors and themes

  • Coordination of such a regional and political process requires continuous capacities on all sides and a strong will to participate actively

  • Continuity and a long-term process for developing and implementing strategy needs to exist before the start of the process

  • Ability to frame questions and issues in a form leading to consensus through technical dialogues

  • Effective feedback to the TF on consensus positions