Launching of the Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge regional platform-Seychellois elected president


Group photo of the delegates at the January 24-27 workshop in Mauritius

Mr Wills Agricole, the new president, was elected during the body’s first technical workshop held in Mauritius from January 24 – 27 this year. 

This was during the European Union funded Implementation of the Small Island Developing States Mauritius Strategy project, newly branded ‘Islands’.

The concept of the WIO-CC is to mobilise countries that share the ocean’s vast and resource rich waters and coasts to come together and commit to action towards island conservation and sustainable livelihoods, including responses to the threat posed by climate change over the next 20 years. 

With a focus on coastal and marine zones, the Challenge would build on the long-standing efforts of regional organisations including the Indian Ocean Commission and Nairobi Convention by focusing on the following principles:

• countries and territories in the driver’s seat of the Challenge at both the development and implementation level with a focus on local and national needs and priorities;

• strengthening and aligning with existing conventions, strategies, action plans, networks, and partnerships as the basis for action;

• broader coastal zone management approach to ensure sustainable coastal economies and communities and safeguard the resilience of the region’s marine and coastal ecosystems as well as evidence and science-based approaches to integrated coastal zone management.

The WIO-CC was first proposed by President James Michel in 2007 as a “platform to galvanise political, financial and technical commitments and actions at national and regional levels on climate change adaptation, promoting resilient ecosystems (marine and coastal resources), sustainable livelihoods, and human security”.

To realise this vision extensive talks have been held over the past three years among regional government representatives, members of intergovernmental organisations, multilateral and non-governmental organisations through the Global Island Partnership and often hosted by the Government of Seychelles at significant international meetings including the United Nations Framework on the Convention for Climate Change and the Convention of Biological Diversity, Conferences of the Parties.

The first technical meeting of this platform is planned for the week of March 1, 2012 in Seychelles.
Technical support will be needed to develop and carry out the roadmap and action plan by the countries that would consist of a 20-year Vision with regional and country level goals, objectives and targets. 

It is nice now to see the Challenge beginning to move forward with the participation of other countries within the region.

The WIO-CC will establish an agreement with the Western Indian Ocean-Consortium so as to provide technical direction and support to the challenge platform before the first technical meeting.  This would be part of a larger framework that covers all aspects of how the WIO-Consortium could support Islands, in other results areas of the project.

Contributed by the Environment Department

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