WMU Joins Partnership to Support Marine Resource Management Across Africa and Signs Aide Mémoire with AfriCOG

World Maritime University

Sep 20, 2013

Eighteen partner organizations, including the World Maritime University (WMU), came together in Cape Town, South Africa on 20 September to launch a new, multi-sector initiative to support the sustainable use and management of marine and coastal resources across Africa. The African Centre for Capacity-Building in Ocean Governance (AfriCOG) will coordinate the efforts of the partners. Together they will ensure that African nations are equipped with the personnel and scientific information needed to meet national and international obligations to support sustainable development, safeguard the marine and coastal environment, and ensure maximum benefits are derived from the goods and services offered by the oceans to sustain their people and economies.

Partnerships and cooperation are the cornerstones of AfriCOG which aims to coordinate the considerable expertise in the region to ensure long-term institutional capacity is maintained, and to build scientific consensus and management advice to advance the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources throughout Africa. AfriCOG’s partner organizations will support not only training, but also ongoing research to answer key research questions that affect the people and economies of the regions. Efforts will focus most notably around the effects of climate change, ecosystem variability, trends and patterns and ecosystems goods and services.

The 18 founding partners participating in the overall effort include the University of Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University, University of Cape Town, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries of the University of Dar es Salaam, University of Namibia, World Maritime University, International Ocean Institute, Benguela Current Commission, Oceanographic Research Institute, the NRF’s South African Environmental Observation Network and South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Bayworld Centre for Research and Education, Nelson Mandela Bay Maritime Cluster, International Union for Conservation of Nature, GEF International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network and the GEF financed UNDP supported Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project.

WMU Professor, Dr. Larry Hildebrand, was in Cape Town for the partnership event, as well as to sign an Aide Mémoire for Cooperation and Collaboration between AfriCOG and WMU. Specifically, the Aide Mémoire recognizes and calls for collaboration in regard to the need for more effective and targeted capacity building and training in priority areas of ocean science, governance, and maritime affairs. Further, it calls for the sharing of best lessons and practices, particularly in relation to knowledge-based governance mechanisms and adaptive management through the ecosystem approach. Under the agreement, AfriCOG and WMU will work to develop capacity building and training through their established courses and workshops, as well as endeavour to develop mutual and cooperative training courses to benefit the participating and recipient countries. The agreement also allows for partnerships between the institutions on training, funding, research, and monitoring.

The African Centre for Capacity Building in Ocean Governance (AfriCOG) was initially established through an understanding between the Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems (ASCLME) Project, UNDP GEF IW:LEARN and Rhodes University (RU). RU created the Centre with the understanding that it would be expanded to include a variety of academic and research institutes, initially in South Africa but with a clear vision to evolve and develop outreach to other institutes and clients throughout the African continent. AfriCOG is now the focus of a number of interested partners both within and beyond Africa including major global academic, scientific and funding institutions. Their mission is to “provide a partnership and support for training and strengthening Pan-African capacity and skills in Marine Resource Management and Ocean Governance and to enhance and encourage the use of trained human resources in the sustainable management and use of coastal and marine goods and services for the long-term security and welfare of associated countries and communities.”

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