AU-IBAR and COREP Support Cross-Border Marine Protection Efforts in Congo and Gabon

Mon, 01-07-2024 15:00:00

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) stand as vital sanctuaries safeguarding our oceanic biodiversity, yet their establishment and governance pose formidable challenges in many African coastal regions. Despite commitments to conservation, effective management remains elusive due to planning and coordination hurdles.

Recognizing this, AU-IBAR has undertaken a pivotal study to assess existing MPAs, distill best practices, and outline guidelines for sustainable implementation across West, Central, and North Africa. This effort includes fostering transboundary cooperation between Gabon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea, culminating in the development of a strategic action plan.

Building on these foundations, AU-IBAR, in partnership with COREP, is now spearheading a regional stakeholders' consultative meeting. This initiative aims to craft a roadmap towards establishing a Transboundary Marine Protected Area (TMPA) between Congo and Gabon. Scheduled for July 23-24, 2024, in Brazzaville, Congo, the meeting will gather government officials, ministry representatives from both countries, experts, and AU-IBAR staff. Its objectives are manifold: raising awareness on TMPA benefits, pinpointing management challenges, proposing actionable solutions, and fortifying institutional capacities.

This collaborative endeavor aligns with AU-IBAR's broader mission under the "Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity Project," funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. This initiative not only aims to bolster policy frameworks and institutional capacities but also strives to harmonize international standards for biodiversity conservation amidst burgeoning sectors like tourism, oil, gas, and climate change.

Moreover, this effort dovetails with the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES), championing sustainable marine practices across key sectors. By safeguarding aquatic ecosystems and promoting inclusive growth, this strategy charts a course towards a resilient blue economy, vital for Africa's sustainable development.

In essence, through strategic partnerships and proactive measures, AU-IBAR and COREP are paving the way for a more sustainable future, where marine conservation becomes a cornerstone of regional cooperation and ecological stewardship.