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UNEP Programmes

Eastern Africa
 

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The Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region was signed in 1985 and came into force in 1996. The Convention was amended and adopted in April, 2010. The Nairobi Convention area extends from Somalia in the North to the Republic of South Africa in the South, covering 10 States, five of which are island States in the Western Indian Ocean and five mainland States. The Contracting Parties are Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and the Republic of South Africa.

The Convention provides a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions in the Eastern and Southern African region,that enables the Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups towards solving interlinked problems of the coastal and marine environment including critical national and transboundary issues. The Convention offers a regional legal framework and coordinates the efforts of the member states to plan and develop programmes that strengthen their capacity to protect, manage and develop their coastal and marine environment sustainably. It also provides a forum for inter-governmental discussions that lead to better understanding of regional environmental problems and the strategies needed to address them; and promotes sharing of information and experiences in the WIO region and with the rest of the world.

Marine and coastal environments, and the goods and services they provide are under increasing pressure from unsustainable consumption and production patterns as well as ineffective management practices in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Some coastal urban hotspots are densely populated and rapidly industrializing. Those hotspots are facing a multitude of problems stemming from unplanned and unregulated land use patterns worsened by poor regulatory regimes. Coastal tourism is an important industry in Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania and the Republic of South Africa. At the same time, there is an interest in exploring and exploiting potential oil and gas reserves, which could further exacerbate the destruction of critical habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, beaches and sea grass meadows.

The East African Action Plan was adopted in 1985 and came into force in 1986. It has by now been ratified by all ten Eastern African countries.

The Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region was also adopted in 1985 and came into force in 1996. In 2010 the Nairobi Convention was amended to the Amended Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean.

The Eastern African Regional coordinating Unit, (EAF/RCU) in Seychelles, formally adopted in 1997 the latest link in a consolidated approach to the protection of the marine environment of the region.

Associated protocols concern:, Protected Areas and Wild Fauna & Flora (adopted 1985, in force 1996); Marine Pollution (adopted 1985, in force 1996); and Land based sources and activities (Adopted 2010 , in force 2011)

 

Recognizing the environmental uniqueness of the coastal and marine environment of the region, the threats and the necessity for action, the countries of the Western Indian Ocean region requested UNEP to create a regional seas programme for the region. UNEP's Governing Council decision 8/13C of 29 April 1980 created the Eastern African Regional Seas Programme and further requested UNEP to assist the Governments of the region to formulate and implement a programme for the proper management and conservation of marine and coastal resources. The Nairobi Convention was in 1985 established to plan and develop programmes that strengthen the capacity Governments of the region to protect, manage and develop their coastal and marine environment sustainably.

The Convention’s Work Programme is implemented through a broad-based coordination structure including the core secretariat based in Nairobi guided by the governments of the region through a network of national focal points and thematic experts groups such as Coral Reef Taskforce, Marine Turtle Task Force, Marine Protected Areas and Legal and Technical Working Group. More...


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