As part of the International Ocean Institute’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the IOI centres in Africa came together for a virtual event on the 4th August 2022 to celebrate the IOI Africa. Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director IOI HQ, shared the successes of the International Ocean Institute worldwide, including the resources that are freely available through the website such as the World Ocean Review and Massive Online Open Course. The IOI, since it's founding in 1972, has reached over 2000 people from all over the world through ocean governance training initiatives. This outreach will continue to grow with the newly launched IOI Ocean Academy, which aims to improve ocean literacy to non-professionals in local languages.
IOI Nigeria, IOI Egypt and IOI Southern Africa each shared what their centres are actively involved in, from training to ocean literacy initiatives and marine pollution interventions. The three centres have many overlapping interests and although there have been successful collaborations in the past, including members of IOI-Nigeria and IOI-Egypt attending the IOI-SA Course in Ocean Governance in South Africa, and IOI-SA staff contributing to the IOI-Nigeria alumni training in 2018, there are more opportunities for collaboration going forward.
We were also privileged to hear from Mika Odido (IOC-UNESCO) on the activities of the Ocean Decade and how ocean literacy and ocean governance capacity development has an important role to play in advancing the nine priority areas of the UN Ocean Decade. He also highlighted the opportunities for African initiatives to engage more fully with the UN Ocean Decade and IOC-UNESCO. The Ocean Decade Regional Task Force will be launched at the WIOMSA Symposium in South Africa in October 2022.
Abdoulaye Diagana congratulated IOI on its 50th anniversary and expressed gratitude for the support IOI has been able to
provide the Abidjan Convention over the years, including those with IOI-SA through the MAMI WATA project. He highlighted the importance of synergies and collaborations in the region. We need collaboration to tackle the complex social, environmental and economic challenges of the region and the Abidjan Convention will continue to support the countries in the region to reach their sustainable ocean goals.
This opportunity to meet with ocean practitioners and members of the IOI family virtually should inspire enhanced collaboration going forward. The challenges that the ocean faces can only be met through cooperation and joint initiatives. IOI works throughout Africa to try create awareness and improve the capacity of those working in ocean governance on the continent.
IOI South Africa Director
For video clips from the event visit the South Africa webpage.