GOBI Secretariat contributes to first SOI national workshop on EBSAs: Yaounde Cameroon, 17-19 January 2018

The marine waters of Central West Africa are dominated by the Guinea Current.  The marine ecosystem is river-driven with inshore-offshore migrations and relatively low productivity, low salinity and high turbidity.  Cameroon has a relatively small EEZ and in the past, conservation efforts have focused on terrestrial ecosystems.  However, the Cameroon coastline supports significant mangrove stands, and its beaches are important nesting areas for marine turtles.  Marine areas support threatened species such as the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin (Sousa tenszii) and West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), as well as five species of endangered sea turtles.

SOI Cameroon workshop participants.
All Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have commitments to Aichi Biodiversity Targets and National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan targets.  To help develop institutional capacity and bring together experts in Cameroon, the CBD Secretariat, working closely with the national CBD Focal Point Mme Prudence Galega (MINEPDED), convened a Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Workshop in Yaounde to explore the merits of a national process to describe Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs).  Over an intensive 3-day interactive session a group of 30 national experts scoped four potential national EBSAs.  The GOBI Secretariat facilitated technical and scientific sections of the agenda, explaining accepted methodologies and lessons learned.  Working groups also considered ways of using EBSA information for planning and management.  Next steps envisage further internal work, sharing information and interaction with regional organisations such as the Council of Ministers of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the Abidjan Convention.