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Training programme in Ocean Governance builds vital capacity for Africa

By Nicole du Plessis, Project Officer, SAEON Egagasini Node
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The International Ocean Institute (IOI) has a long history of conducting training and capacity-building programmes.

Of these the most widely known is the annual Ocean Governance course offered by IOI-Canada, which has been running for the past 30 years.

More recently the IOI regional centres have started to offer courses with a regional focus. The training programme in Ocean Governance for Africa is facilitated by IOI-South Africa, the coordinator for the African Region. The first course was held in 2013.

Sustainable core group of experts

The goal of the course is to meet the ongoing need within the African region for awareness and training in the various disciplines associated with ocean governance and that will contribute to building a sustainable core group of experts on the continent.

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Participants in the IOI-SA Ocean Governance course with the IOI-SA team and guest speakers (Picture courtesy of IOI-SA)

I attended the course for 2016, which ran from 12 September to 7 October at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town. There were 15 participants from a number of African countries including Namibia, Uganda and Tanzania as well as participants from Germany and Brazil. Each participant was afforded an opportunity to present on their organisation and the work they are involved with.

The course covered five modules: Oceans and Coasts - Opportunities and Threats; The Governance Framework; Governance Tools; Governance in Action; and Creating a Supportive Environment for Effective Governance.

Field trips

Included in the modules were field trips to demonstrate practical examples of some of the governance tools and mechanisms, such as a field trip to the Boulders Penguin Colony in Simon’s Town and a field trip to Saldanha Bay (touring the port and an oyster farm) and Langebaan, which included a presentation by staff at the West Coast National Park. We were also given a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Two Oceans Aquarium organised by a participant working at the aquarium.

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Field trip to the Boulders Penguin Colony, Simon’s Town (Picture courtesy of IOI-SA)

The content of the course (as well as the timing) was very relevant and beneficial to my position with the South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum (SAMREF) as well as my new role within the South African Chapter of the IORA Academic Group. A number of speakers made reference to the work of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy and the Blue Economy paradigm. There were also presentations and discussions on various international and regional conventions such as UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

Putting theory into practice

The last week of the course saw us presenting on a Marine Spatial Planning exercise which we had to map for either False Bay or Saldanha Bay. We also presented on a regional policy exercise in which we discussed the Abidjan Convention (Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region) and the Nairobi Convention (Convention of the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region).

I believe the course has provided me with a good basis for my continued work within the ocean governance sphere. I would like to thank IOI-SA for providing me with a bursary to attend the course as well as the IOI-SA team and my fellow course participants for a rewarding and enjoyable four weeks. I would also like to thank SAEON for allowing me the time to attend the course.

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