The 2023 edition of the Marine Regions Forum officially launched in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Running from 7th to 9th November 2023, the forum serves as a unique platform drawing together multiple stakeholders to deliberate on navigating ocean sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and beyond. Co-hosted by Tanzania and Seychelles, together with the Nairobi Convention and other partners, the forum builds on outcomes from the 2019 edition whose theme was “Achieving a healthy ocean – Regional ocean governance beyond 2020.”
Ms. Mary Maganga, Permanent Secretary of Environment, Tanzania, officially launched the three-day conference. She highlighted the potential of the sustainable blue economy in the Western Indian Ocean region while emphasising the significance of knowledge sharing and regional cooperation for the enhancement of regional ocean governance.
The opening session featured insights from various speakers and experts, including Dr. Barbara Neumann, Ms. Charlina Vladimirova Vitcheva, Mr. Dixon Waringe, Dr. Aboud Jumbe, Mr. Dennis Matatiken, and Mr. Emilio Rosetti, covering topics ranging from regional collaboration, ocean governance, and addressing the triple planetary crisis.
Speaking at the first plenary session, Ms. Minna Epps from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, stressed the importance of science-based collaboration for implementing global goals at regional levels. She highlighted the significance of multilateralism in addressing ocean challenges and called on the WIO region to champion the ratification and adoption of the High Seas (BBNJ) Treaty.
Dr. Aboud Jumbe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries, highlighted the development of the Western Indian Ocean Regional Ocean Governance Strategy and its potential to accelerate better ocean governance in the region, focusing on the importance of including various marine sectors and stakeholders. Dr. David Obura, Director of CORDIO East Africa, also highlighted the urgency of addressing the triple planetary crisis, particularly its impact on coral reefs in the WIO region. He stressed the need for climate-resilient solutions and transformative change.
Mr. Dixon Waruinge from the Nairobi Convention, emphasized the importance of adopting regional approaches in ocean governance. He highlighted the historical context of ocean governance, noting the origins of Law of the Sea. Additionally, Mr. Waruinge underscored that the means to good ocean governance is as significant as the end. He underscored the value of appreciating and maintaining the ocean’s natural capital, delivering on value propositions, and addressing climate change impacts, citing the example of tropical cyclone Freddy which adversely affected Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.
Several parallel workshop sessions ran concurrently at the forum and delegates were engaged in discussions anchored on inclusivity across the conference’s four topical strands: fostering a blue economy; regional ocean governance; tackling the triple planetary crisis; and implementing global goals at the regional level.