The final workshop under GOBI’s grant from the International Climate Initiative took place in Muscat, Oman on 2-4 October 2023. Showcasing the tools and methodologies that GOBI has developed over the past 7 years, this workshop aimed to demonstrate their use in supporting ecosystem-oriented marine management and marine spatial planning in the North-West Indian Ocean region.
The workshop included participants from a range of countries and organisations in the region, including India, Pakistan, Jordan, Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka as well as local participants from Oman. The programme was enriched and grounded by presentations of case studies from throughout the North West Indian Ocean region, providing the opportunity to explore synergy, relevance, future opportunities and barriers to progress.
The workshop format ensured that discussions covered a varied set of topics including migratory connectivity, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Important Marine Mammal Areas, marine biogeographies, finance mechanisms, conservation efforts for charismatic species, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Important Shark and Ray Areas, bycatch reduction efforts, data gathering, outreach and risk assessments.
A concluding session on area-based planning, including systematic conservation planning methodologies, was followed by a ‘world café’-style discussion on human uses and threats, transboundary ocean migration challenges and capacity building. A report of the workshop will be circulated at the next opportunity for biodiversity conservation deliberations at the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) – the intergovernmental organisation with a mandate to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region. The workshop outcomes will also inform a side event planned for the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (February 2024).