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Headquarters of West Africa Marine Agreement Officially Transferred to Cote D'Ivoire
25/ 05/ 2010

Headquarters of West Africa Marine Agreement Officially Transferred to Cote D'IvoirePunte Del Este (Uruguay), 25 May 2010 – The United Nations Environment Programme and the Government of Cote d'Ivoire have signed a headquarters agreement on the Framework of the Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central and Southern African Region and protocol.

Also known as the Abidjan Convention. It covers the 22 coastal states on the West Africa side of the Atlantic Ocean from Mauritania to South Africa and came into force in 1984.

The signing ceremony between UNEP, represented by its Executive Director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Achim Steiner and Cote d'Ivoire, represented by its Minster of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, H.E.M. Jean-Marie Kacou Gervais, took place in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Here the Global Environment Facility is hosting its fourth Assembly which is involving the participation of several African ministerial delegations.

The signature of the Headquarters Agreement marks the official transfer of the UNEP-administered Secretariat from Nairobi to Abidjan. Cote d'Ivoire is the depository of the Convention.

Recognizing the environmental uniqueness and natural resources richness in fisheries, oil, gas and minerals of the coastal and marine environment of the region, the threats and the necessity for action, the Contracting Parties of the Convention adopted an Action Plan for the protection and development of the marine and coastal environment of the region.

The Convention's protocol concerning cooperating in combating pollution in cases of emergency also came into force in 1984.

The Abidjan Convention is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas. It lists the sources of pollution, which require control: pollution from ships, dumping, land based sources, exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed, and pollution from or through the atmosphere. It makes provision for liability and compensation in case of pollution.

It also focuses on overfishing issues, control of the fish stocks and coast-based tourism opportunities in the region. The Convention is the basis for co-operative efforts to address issues such as: coastal erosion, specially protected areas, and environmental impact assessment.

The signing of the Headquarters Agreement is timely in an area rich in oil and fisheries

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