After the first two weeks of online training, it was finally possible to welcome the participants, to in-person training in Cape Town. Lectures were delivered by distinguished speakers from all over the region, with some presenting online. Field visits were also possible for the first time since the pandemic.
The course included legal, institutional, and technical aspects of ocean governance, with an emphasis on implementation, as this is a common shortcoming in capacity for environmental regulation in many African countries. It covers a wide range of topics including maritime security, shipping, marine biodiversity, and climate change with the intention to provide participants with at least a basic understanding of these subjects, their inter-related nature, and the opportunity to engage with local and regional experts from a range of fields. The course also includes sessions on stakeholder engagement and conflict resolution to try boost the soft skills that practitioners can benefit from in their work engagements.
The schedule combined formal lectures, group discussions and exercises, feedback on topics covered during the week as well as lunch time video sessions themed for the day’s discussions. In addition, the participants were required to each give a short presentation about their expertise on their first day in Cape Town – this facilitates the participants getting to know each other’s professional backgrounds and practice their presentation skills. Word cloud exercises and informal daily ice breaker activities tried to encourage creativity and some light-heartedness within the intense learning schedule. The weeks were characterized by thoughtful input from the participants. We encouraged peer-to-peer learning and group exercises throughout the training.