Headline: Marine Regions Forum 2023: Navigating ocean sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean and beyond. Conference report

The Marine Regions Forum 2023 was held under the headline “Navigating Ocean Sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean and Beyond”, placing a focus on the Western Indian Ocean ( WIO) region and its challenges, and featuring many of the region’s ocean actors and experts. It provided an opportunity to reconnect in-person after the COVID -19 pandemic in a biodiversity-rich area that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, food insecurity and where a large proportion of the population is reliant on the coast for their livelihoods. But the WIO region is also pioneering a regional ocean governance strategy and is a hub of research, capacity development and science-to-policy engagement. This conference provided a platform to share best practices from the WIO region with other marine regions and learn from experiences from other parts of the world. Further, the conference offered a space for on-going processes to receive input from stakeholders and advance work, such as for the regional ocean governance strategy for the WIO that is being developed through an extensive collaborative process and under the auspices of the Nairobi Convention Secretariat. And, at a time where it can feel like international relationships are breaking down, and nations are looking inwards more than out, it was encouraging to gather over 180 people in Dar es Salaam and be hosted by both the United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Seychelles to look at ways to work together towards a common goal of improved ocean governance at national, regional, and global levels. The conference programme of the Marine Regions Forum 2023 was developed together with partners from the WIO region and experts engaging in the region and built on a yearlong process of engagement and consultation. The coordinating team facilitated the overall co-design and co-delivery of the Marine Regions Forum conference. The shaping of the programme, fine-tuning of content, the selection of speakers and other contributors, and the moderation of sessions and discussions at the conference were a collaborative effort of the team, its partners, and the co-chairs of topical strands and sessions. This is reflected in the key messages of the Marine Regions Forum 2023 which have been compiled by the coordinating team from summary notes of plenaries and workshop sessions and developed jointly with the co-chairs. Although the four topical strands dealt with a broad range of issues, there were commonalities that spread across the discussions. These are summarised below as key messages that emerged and stood out from the three days of the conference.

RIFS Themenbroschüren

Hampton, S., Cremers, K., Müller, A., Neumann, B., Rochette, J., Sciacca, A., von Pogrell, L., & Weiand, L. (2023). Marine Regions Forum 2023: Navigating ocean sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean and beyond. Conference report. RIFS Brochure.

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Governance der Ozeane Marine Regions Forum im westlichen Indischen Ozean