Zanzibar, Tanzania: Women fish in shallow water.
Zanzibar, Tanzania: Women fish in shallow water. Shutterstock/laranik

Headline: Marine Regions Forum in the Western Indian Ocean


The ocean, its currents, species and the man-made threats that impact it, are not limited by political boundaries. The transboundary nature of the ocean poses a unique challenge for implementing effective governance measures. Action must therefore be coordinated and collaborative - not only across multiple states, but also across stakeholder groups, sectors, and levels of governance. The Marine Regions Forum seeks to provide a platform for addressing these cross-sectoral, multinational challenges - within and across marine regions.

The Marine Regions Forum: A dialogue platform to enhance ocean action

The Marine Regions Forum was established in response to requests from decision-makers and ocean governance experts to strengthen regional ocean governance approaches. It is a participatory space that brings together policy- and decision-makers, scientists, civil society representatives, the private sector, and other actors from different marine regions to engage in dialogue and exchange on urgent ocean issues outside of formal governance processes.

Through the sharing of knowledge and experiences, joint learning, and by showcasing successful collaborative efforts, the Marine Regions Forum aims to enable collective responses. It supports the development of governance solutions that catalyse transformative change towards the sustainable use and conservation of the ocean.

Making regional action tangible: The Marine Regions Forum in the Western Indian Ocean region

Following a development and consolidation phase initiated in 2017, the current project phase of the Marine Regions Forum aims to:

i) apply a regional focus within the Western Indian Ocean to facilitate joint learning and support transformative ocean action in the region, and ii) continue to foster exchanges between marine regions and from the regional to global level.

As part of the current programme of work, a second Marine Regions Forum conference took place in 2023 in the Western Indian Ocean region. It was co-developed with regional stakeholders to ensure that regional needs and priorities are met. It brought together stakeholders and experts across sectors, the conference focused on regional issues and priorities to encourage collaboration, joint-learning, and knowledge exchange. It also included international participants from other marine regions to foster broader exchange. The Marine Regions Forum was developed by the project partners together with a Steering Group and with the support of an international Advisory Board and renowned ocean experts. The project team worked in close collaboration with regional partners, such as the Nairobi Convention Secretariat and other stakeholders with regional expertise.

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