The STRONG High Seas project was invited to provide a targeted intervention on ocean governance and areas beyond national jurisdiction during the Pre-Conference Workshops of the African UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in January 2022.
A series of pre-conference workshops (24–26 January 2022) were organized by IOC-UNESCO in preparation for the African Kick-off Conference for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (10-12 May 2022, Alexandria, Egypt). The pre-conference workshops brought together a wide range of regional stakeholders from UN agencies, the private sector, NGOs, research, private foundations, and other stakeholder groups. The workshops were organized around the ten Ocean Decade Challenges with the overarching aims to: a) facilitate the development of potential Decade Actions (programmes and projects); and b) catalyse partnerships among regional stakeholder communities.
Ben Boteler, Co-Lead of STRONG High Seas, provided an intervention during the session ‘Ocean Economy and Food Security’ on the importance of advancing ocean governance for areas beyond national jurisdiction. In particular, he called on African stakeholders to pursue an ecosystem-based and cross-sectoral approach to address the inter-connected challenges facing the ocean both in national waters as well as areas beyond national jurisdiction. He highlighted that to achieve effective implementation of ocean governance, dialogue between States and stakeholders, including from science, civil society and the private sector is essential. Finally, he pointed out that initiatives for collaboration will not happen on their own and that they require adequate and long-term funding as well as organisations willing to coordinate and champion them forward – and the UN Decade of Ocean Science offers an extremely valuable starting point to leverage action by and for Africa and create such an initiative.
After the intervention, Mr. Boteler joined a discussion moderated by Harsen Nyambe (African Union Commission) along with fellow panellists: Ibukun Adewumi (Global Ocean Accounts Partnership (Australia)); Dr Pascal Thoya (Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kenya)); and Dr Merete Tandstad (FAO/EAFNANSEN programme).
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