20th - 21st November 2023 in Dar Es Salaam – Tanzania
With the backing of the SIDA-funded Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Project, a meeting was led by AU-IBAR in partnership with WIOMSA and the Nairobi Convention from November 20th to 21st, 2023. This assembly convened over 20 delegates, drawing participation from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Marine Parks and Reserve Unit (MPRU) of the United Republic of Tanzania. The primary objective of this gathering was to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize activities within the proposed Transboundary Marine Conservation Area (TBCA). The overarching aim is to enhance transboundary cooperation between Kenya and Tanzania, focusing on the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environmental protection.
The meeting, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was guided by the framework of the SIDA-funded Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Project. Moderated by Dr. Patrick Karani, a Technical Environmental Expert, AU-IBAR, the joint discussions addressed priority issues and actions identified in the roadmaps crafted during preceding national meetings in Tanzania and Kenya.
Specifically, the joint meeting aimed to:
1. Define the roles of each country and jointly in the proposed TBCA.
2. Specify the content of the MOU.
3. Develop a draft MOU for the joint management of the proposed TBCA area.
4. Plan bilateral engagements on the proposed TBCA process.
5. Create a harmonized roadmap for advancing the TBCA planning process.
Mr. Joel Mokenye, representing AU-IBAR as an Aquatic Biodiversity Specialist, delivered the opening remarks on behalf of Dr. Huyam Salih, the Director of AU-IBAR. He highlighted the timely nature of the meeting, providing an opportunity for delegates to identify and deliberate on country and joint obligations within the proposed TBCA area. Mokenye expressed gratitude to the government and people of Sweden for their support and thanked the United Republic of Tanzania for hosting the workshop.
Dr. Arthur Tuda, Executive Director of WIOMSA, stressed the importance of formalizing activities within the transboundary area through the development of an MOU. He thanked AU-IBAR and the Nairobi Convention for their facilitation, acknowledging the processes involved in realizing the TBCA area.
Mr. Solomon, Head of Wildlife Multilateral Environmental Agreement Implementation at the Kenya Wildlife Service, conveyed thanks to the government of the United Republic of Tanzania for their hospitality. He expressed appreciation to AU-IBAR and WIOMSA for supporting the process of establishing a Kenya-Tanzania Marine TBCA. Solomon highlighted the commitment of the Kenyan delegation to work collaboratively with their Tanzanian counterparts to translate the TBCA concept into action.
Dr. Sware Semesi, the Managing Director of the Marine Parks and Reserve Unit (MPRU) representing the United Republic of Tanzania, officially opened the meeting. She thanked the delegates for their attendance, acknowledged the support from AU-IBAR and WIOMSA, and affirmed the full commitment of the Tanzanian government to the TBCA process.
The two-day meeting was fruitful in advancing the MOU and creating the Kenya-Tanzania Transboundary Marine Conservation Area, both of which are critical steps in strengthening transboundary cooperation for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environmental protection.