The ocean is critical to accelerating global climate and biodiversity action, providing food security, and promoting sustainable development for millions of people. Unsustainable human activities and their harmful impacts continue to degrade the ocean, leading to profound changes and hampering the much-needed achievement of the UN 2030 and AU 2063 Agendas. Therefore, there is a need to focus on preserving the ocean for the climate, biodiversity, and other services it offers, including human livelihoods.
The shared interface in the Mediterranean basin and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans offers a strategic opportunity for cooperation that is not yet central to the AU-EU dialogue but has immense potential for the two continents. Given the vast exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Africa (13 million square kilometers) and Europe (25 million square kilometers), cooperation on increasing MPAs, including Locally-Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) across the two continents, could prove beneficial and impactful.
To ensure ocean governance efforts reach their objectives, the expansion of MPAs and LMMAs must be co-developed with indigenous and local communities through inclusive and meaningful engagement processes, demonstrating contextual, equitable and transparent governance at the local level.
Online Citizen Dialogues are critical to AEF's toolkit to capture citizen perspectives on Africa-Europe relations. Through the series, AEF ensures citizen voices are included across the Foundation's various work streams and priority areas.
In the context of this Online Citizen Dialogue, AEF engaged young leaders spearheading ocean initiatives across Africa and Europe and are committed to propelling the sustainability of ocean communities and blue economy endeavors.
- David Obura, Founding Director, Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean (CORDIO) East Africa
- Dr. Antonio Di Franco, Senior Researcher at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
- Gaoussou Gueye, President Association for the Promotion and Empowerment of Maritime Fisheries (APRAPAM)
- Dr. Veronica Relano, Oceans Program Manager at Onewater
- Dr. Kamah Pascal Bumtu, Environmentalist, Biodiversity Conservation Consultant
- Sabriyah Madhi, Vice Spokesperson and Project Coordinator of Youth for Marine Protected Areas (Y4MPA's)
- Ny Aro Andriamiarosoa, Président of CliMates Madagascar
- Tharaka Sriram, Founder of Ocean Education, Blue Parks Ambassador for the Marine Conservation Institute
- Thomas Sberna (Moderator), Senior Fellow for Ocean at the Africa-Europe Foundation, and Regional Head for Coastal and Ocean Resilience at IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa.
This online citizen dialogue is part of a series in the context of the Africa-Europe Strategy Group on Ocean Governance, an initiative led by the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs, in partnership with the African Union Commisison. The Strategy Group is facilitated by the Africa-Europe Foundation.