The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region spans over 30 million km2, from the Somalia region in the north, to the southern tip of South Africa. It encompasses tropical and subtropical regions of diverse nature, rich stretches of coast along the mainland countries of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. It also includes vast oceanic areas surrounding the island states of Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius and French Territories. 60 million people live within 100 km of its 15,000 km of coastline and directly depend on the ocean for their food security, livelihoods and climate resilience.
WHAT IS AN INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE BLUE ECONOMY?
A SBE is one in which people and countries can derive a continued source of value and wealth, while simultaneously protecting, maintaining, and restoring diverse, productive, and resilient river basin and marine ecosystems. It is reliant upon clean technologies, renewable energy, and circular material flows. It provides social and economic benefits for current and future generations. The concept of Blue Economy is central for sustainable development.
Much of the emphasis has been placed on short term economic gains and less on sustainability. As a result, traditional livelihoods and small-scale local operations are frequently outcompeted by international corporations and government initiatives, with little regard for social inclusion and environmental sustainability. The most fundamental principle of an SBE often overlooked in the interest of these short-term economic gains is that people are at its centre.
In recent years, signatory countries to the Nairobi Convention, its Secretariat (housed in UNEP) and its broader set of partners, including Cordio East Africa, WWF and IUCN, have supported the concept of a multi-stakeholder platform to catalyse a more concerted and coordinated engagement of private sector actors, and drive for a sustainable blue economy in the WIO region. To help the partners realise this, the Western Indian Ocean Governance Initiative (WIOGI) was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). WIOGI is implemented through a partnership between GIZ and the Nairobi Convention Secretariat and is working across the region towards a sustainable blue economy by facilitating greater cooperation between local and regional stakeholders around the protection and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity.
After some initial background work, in October 2021 the first Preliminary Steering Team meeting was convened and attended by eight initiating partners. Since then, the initiative has rapidly grown to 16 partners.
OUR MULTI-STAKEHOLDER APPROACH
Increases ownership, participation, resources and strategic capital, while keeping the focus on action and impacts.
Means business, governments, communities and international organisations have an equal say in OBF’s development and steering.
Simultaneously strengthens capacity for collaboration with support from the Collective Leadership Institute.
In the spirit of co-creation and inclusivity, in its development phase OBF is governed by a non-hierarchal, multi-stakeholder Preliminary Steering Team. Each partner allocates a member to the Steering Team. They will provide inspiration, guidance, and mechanisms for collective leadership, supporting a diversity of initiatives to grow in scale and impact in a strategic direction. It is not a mechanism for coordination and control, as each member organisation, partnership and project have their own governance and accountability mechanisms, and the mandate for regional coordination will always be across multiple organisations.
Once OBF transitions to its interim developmental phase, a Steering Committee will be elected, with equal representation from public sector, private sector and civil society.
OUR PRELIMINARY STEERING TEAM
Government of Mozambique
Dr. Samantha Petersen
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Dr. Tim Andrew
Nairobi Convention Secretariat
Dr. Maha Cziesielski
Dr. David Obura
CORDIO East Africa
Blue Economy Development and Coordination Dept. Government of Zanzibar
Col. Andre Ciseau
Ports Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA)
Dr. Charlotte Boyd
Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)
Collective Leadership Institute
OCEAN GOVERNANCE IN THE WIO – BY THE NAIROBI CONVENTION
We are 16 Partners
A multi-stakeholder initiative provides the framework for engagement between businesses, civil society and other stakeholders such as governments. In the case of Our Blue Future, seeking to address issues of mutual concern around the challenges in the Western Indian Ocean region through a participatory and inclusive design and approach.
Our Blue Future has been developed as a Collaboration System with a transformation network of projects and partnerships.