A two-day Steering Committee of the Interim Guinea Current Commission/Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (IGCC/GCLME) opens in Accra on May 17, according to a statement from the committee on Tuesday.
It said the meeting would be preceded on May 16 by a Caucus of Africa’s Large Marine Ecosystem Institutions and Programmes.
The statement said top on the agenda of the Steering Committee meeting would be the next steps needed for the GCLME Strategic Action Programme (SAP) Implementation project and a report of the Ministerial Working Group on the transition of the Interim Guinea Current Commission to a permanent Guinea Current Commission.
IGCC ministers decided on the transition in their second meeting, July 2, 2010 through the “Osu Declaration”.
The statement said as a full commission, the 16 IGCC Member States would have formalized regional cooperation and be able to set up the governance structure to apply ecosystem-based management of their shared trans-boundary environmental interests.
The SAP is a document that describes policy, legal and institutional reforms and investments needed to attend to such priority problems, identified in the GCLME region’s Trans-boundary Diagnostic Analysis.
Ecosystem-based management is an integrated approach to the management of the marine environment that considers the entire ecosystem, mankind included.
Its goal is to maintain a healthy and productive ecosystem that can provide the needed living natural resources and services humans require.
The statement said the Steering Committee meeting would also hear a report on the development of Memoranda of Understanding between the IGCC and other agencies such as the Fisheries Commission for West and Central Africa, the Sub-regional Fisheries Commissions, and the Regional Fisheries Committee of the Gulf of Guinea.
The meeting would also receive a report on the IGCC/GCLME’s six national and three regional ongoing demonstration projects.
The IGCC/GCLME Steering Committee directs the activities of the GCLME.
Since the start of the GCLME project implementation in March 2005, the Committee has provided direction for project execution on behalf of the governments of all participating countries.
In addition to this meeting, the Tripartite Committee of United Nations Support agencies (UNIDO, UNEP and UNDP) would meet on the 19 and 20 May to finalize the SAP Implementation Project.
Up to 80 delegates from all GCLME project countries, United Nations cooperating agencies (UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP, FAO and IMO), non-governmental and community-based organizations, the private sector and other stakeholder communities are expected to attend.
The GCLME stretches from Guinea-Bissau to Angola, a marine surface area around 350,000 square kilometres, and 2.6 million square kilometres for the total of exclusive economic zones.
The project aims to assist States, acting collectively, to protect the Guinea Current region’s estimated 300 million people (half of whom live on the coast) from environmental degradation, food insecurity, depletion of fishery stocks and from land-based pollution.
It also aims to help States to restore their coastal and marine habitats.
The project is assisted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/UNIDO/UNDP/UNEP/US-NOAA.
As a global resource, GCLME is among the most productive coastal and offshore waters in the world.
The region is home to vast fishery resources, precious minerals, as well as oil and gas reserves.
It also holds high potential for eco-tourism and is an important reservoir of globally significant marine biodiversity.
However, the GCLME’s habitats and living resources are threatened by human activity, including overexploitation, pollution from land- and sea-based sources, and ecosystem alterations resulting in the degradation of coastal habitats through erosion.