Conference 2023


The 2023 Marine Regions Forum conference in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region was hosted in the United Republic of Tanzania, in collaboration with the Republic of Seychelles. The conference was organized in partnership with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat and regional partners.

The conference explored what is needed to enhance cooperation and coordination to advance ocean governance within the Western Indian Ocean region and beyond. The conference agenda was developed in close collaboration with our partners to ensure that the event adds value to existing regional processes. In addition to highlighting the successes and challenges in the WIO region, the conference brought together selected experts from other regions to encourage knowledge exchange and share examples of good practice in regional governance processes. While this conference had a regional focus, the interregional knowledge exchange remains an important component of the Marine Regions Forum. By complementing existing processes, facilitating open exchange and dialogue across sectors, and disseminating emerging recommendations to the formal policy processes including, among others, the conference supports implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.


Group photo of the participants of the Marine Regions Forum 2023 conference. (Photo by Empower Limited)


The conference incorporated interactive workshops, engaging panel discussions and keynote presentations as well as providing space for creativity and meaningful networking.  You can download the full conference programme here.



Permanent Secretary of Environment, Tanzania, Mary Maganga opens the Marine Regions Forum 2023 (photo by EMPOWER Limited)

7th November: The welcoming plenary set the stage for the Marine Regions Forum 2023, providing a unique opportunity to hear from the host countries, funders, and the coordinating team. This session aimed to highlight the key objectives and priority outcomes of the conference, inviting active participation from all attendees. Our welcome plenary included: Mary Ngelela Maganga, Denis Matatiken, Charlina Vitcheva, Dixon Waruinge and Barbara Neumann.






Executive Secretary of the Nairobi Convention Secretariat, Dixon Waruinge, discusses the importance of a regional approach to ocean governance
Executive Secretary of the Nairobi Convention Secretariat highlighted the importance of a regional approach to ocean governance (photo by EMPOWER Limited)

7th November: The first plenary session, “building a shared understanding” was designed to launch the conference and set the tone for the following days. Following the welcoming messages, keynote speakers introduced the four topical strands that guided the conference discussions, thereby facilitating a shared understanding among participants regarding the thematic trajectory of the event. Meet our keynote presenters: David Obura, Aboud Jumbe, Minna Epps and Dixon Waruinge.







Panel on inclusivity and innovation in ocean governance (photo by EMPOWER Limited)

8th November: The plenary panel explored “inclusivity and innovation in ocean governance“. The panelists explored the challenges, achievements, and opportunities in regional ocean governance. The discussion shed light on the diverse roles to be played in advancing scientific knowledge, promoting sustainability, and driving innovation within the marine science and maritime sectors. Meet our panelists: Samantha Petersen, Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, Lorna Inniss, Jacqeline Uku and Valerie Hickey.





Shaping the path ahead at the final panel of Marine Regions Forum 2023 (photo by EMPOWER Limited)

9th November: The concluding plenary panel, “shaping the path ahead” provided an opportunity for representatives from Africa to share their priorities and actions for the future of ocean governance and their perspectives on the deliberations that unfolded during the conference. This session was an opportunity to show how to take ocean governance forward in the future and provide a reflection on what is needed at regional and national levels to implement positive change. The panelists included Dustan Shimbo, Denis Matatiken, Dixon Waruinge, Abdoulaye Diagana and Kareen Andriantsiferana.





The conference tackled pressing topics through four distinct thematic strands, each with a dedicated focus on inclusivity (day 1), innovation (day 2), and implementation (day 3).

Some of the Marine RE
Some of the Marine Regions Forum team. Top row: Anastasia Roberts, Hamza Buquaileh, Ben Boteler, Barbara Neumann, Laura Weiand, Shannon Hampton. Bottom row: Luise von Pogrell, Olga Lukyanova, Pradeep Singh, Madisen Dimacale (Photo by Empower Limited).


Find out more about the Marine Regions Forum 2023 conference in this teaser video below.

The Marine Regions Forum in the Western Indian Ocean is co-funded by the European Union and the Swedish Ministry of Climate and Enterprise and German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. The Marine Regions Forum 2023 conference in the Western Indian Ocean is being developed in partnership with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat and various partners:

The 2023 Propelling Ocean Action Conference is co-hosted by:

The United Republic of Tanzania in collaboration with The Republic of Seychelles


In partnership with: