Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

What We Do

The cities and coastal project seek to understand and enhance spatial planning and social analysis within the WIO region. In the understanding of the interface, it is essential to include inputs from supplementary documents such as government policy and reports to understand the challenges, the actors, the opportunities that affect and can reduce the efficacy of coastal cities planning.

    1. Building a knowledge base

This component aims at conducting research that generates solutions-oriented knowledge required to address the complex challenges facing coastal cities in the WIO region, improve broader planning of coastal cities, as well as identifying opportunities offered by coastal cities for advancing sustainable development. The C&C Project-funded research projects must deliver both excellent science and clearly identify how the research will lead to tangible positive outcomes for target groups at the levels of policy, technology, environment, and the wellbeing of coastal communities. Two projects are approved and their research is ongoing, these include

The Smart cities project comprised of a consortium of several organisations from Mombasa, Kenya and Durban, South Africa and is aimed at developing empirical evidence under-pinning the process of building capacity and prototyping smart and sustainable outcomes through the process of peer-to-peer learning between cities. Whilst this is a research project seeking to better understand governance and implementation challenges in African coastal cities through a climate change lens, the project is built around a set of practical outcomes that complement existing activities in the two partner cities. The focal city is the County Government of Mombasa (CGM), Kenya which has developed a number of remediation projects responding to service delivery and development-related challenges within the water and sanitation, waste and environment sectors.

Among other major activities, the project will engage in a series of trans-disciplinary learning exchanges between Mombasa and Durban’s eThekwini Municipality. EThekwini Municipality has a global reputation in using Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation approaches and has taken the lead in addressing solid waste, water and sanitation, energy and transport issues. (there are photos and videos of the launch of this event, sent to Mainah)

The second project, CICLICO in short, consists of researchers from the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa and GERICS in Germany and aims to explore and plan, with decision-makers and society in the city of Port Elizabeth, how diverse and often uncoordinated objectives of coastal and marine planning can be implemented to enable better adaptation to climate change in vulnerable coastal cities of the WIO through the use of climate services for city planning tools. The specific research objectives of the project are to: 1) undertake participatory mapping of the coastal and marine planning systems of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality in Algoa Bay; 2) build a system dynamics model consisting of the key causalities of managing coastal and marine space in a changing climate; and, 3) cocreate climate services using system dynamic models as proof of concept. This will result in an understanding of the use of area-based management approaches, governance perspectives, environmental assets and stakeholder conflicts in light of climate change. The medium-sized coastal city of Port Elizabeth in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality on the shores of Algoa Bay, South Africa, will be explored as a case study for this project.

     2. Building capacity for coastal and marine planning

The component is pegged on strengthening research and management capacity of different stakeholders such as local authorities, city planners, policy makers from central government, academics, the private sector, civil society and citizens to address the complex challenges facing coastal cities in the WIO region, to improve broader planning of coastal cities, as well as identifying opportunities offered by coastal cities for advancing sustainable development. Under this component, capacity development is addressed in a holistic manner through: grants for the organization of training courses; workshops and writing workshops; organization of regional workshops aiming at building capacity for coastal city management.

Under this component a training workshop on ‘Capacity Building for Impacts’ that was held in Mombasa, Kenya in September 2018 whose purpose was to increase the capacity for the development of strategies and activities for research impact for cities and urban sustainability among academic and non-academic actors. The workshop also included research organizations dealing with urban planning, particularly in coastal cities, and aiming to synergize engineered and ecological systems to enhance the ecological services and increase the resilience of the urban and coastal infrastructure systems. The workshop was attended by twelve participants from Kenya, Tanzania, Somaliland, Seychelles and Mozambique. Of these participants, five were female. (there is a report and photos of this event, photos sent to Mainah)

  3. Knowledge uptake and actions

This component aims at synthesizing research results from different sources and developing them into information packages, knowledge products, and decision-support tools for different stakeholders. To enhance the uptake of knowledge, the Project will undertake innovative activities aiming at improving the engagement between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners. Planned activities under this component include: supporting technical working groups and networks; and identifying and implementing proven solutions to improve the engagement between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners.

In July 2018, the Nairobi Convention, Indian Ocean Commission (COI) and WIOMSA organized the ‘Science to Policy Forum for the UNEP/Nairobi Convention’ in Durban, South Africa. The meeting was attended by senior government officials and experts drawn from NGOs, academic and research institutions, who deliberated on the discussion papers and made policy recommendations which were forwarded for consideration and decision to the Ninth Conference of Parties to the Nairobi Convention (COP 9) that was held in Mombasa, Kenya in August 2018.

For the meeting, WIOMSA prepared a paper on ‘Coastal Cities in the WIO region: New opportunities for the Nairobi Convention’, whose purpose was to bring the need to recognize coastal cities as one of the important transformative forces in the coastal and marine environment of the region to the attention of the Contracting Parties of the Nairobi Convention, and therefore prioritize them in their actions.

The paper proposed three decisions for consideration by COP 9:

  • Welcome the partnership with UN Habitat to address the environmental challenges and opportunities posed by rapid urbanization and coastal cities in the WIO Region as articulated by Agenda 2030 and SDG 11;
  • Request the Secretariat to collaborate with UN Habitat and other Partners to develop a regional action plan and road map to assist the Contracting Parties to integrate the New Urban Agenda in Coastal Cities in the WIO region in the protection of the marine and coastal environment;
  • Urge Contracting Parties to review their urban planning, governance, preparedness and responsiveness with regard to pollution and degradation challenges posed by rapid urbanization and coastal cities in the WIO region.

  4. Influencing policy and practice

Through this component, WIOMSA will continue to work at the intersection of science and policy to ensure that coastal planning and science is integrated into regional policy development and that relevant policies take into account both scientific knowledge and the needs of the communities. WIOMSA will also continue to promote dialogue and shared understanding between the scientific community, policy makers, and society more broadly. This component will include all those activities aiming at linking science to management, governance and policy processes at different levels, industry, and technological innovation. The planned activities include WIOMSA working with the Nairobi Convention, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and selected coastal cities to set up a baseline for target 11.6 (by 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management) and track progress over time.

One of the important activities undertaken in 2018 under this component was to sponsor some decisions in the COP 9 that were of relevance to the C&C Project. Based on the paper, ‘Coastal Cities in WIO region: New opportunities for the Nairobi Convention’ prepared by WIOMSA and deliberated first in the ‘Science to Policy Forum for the UNEP/Nairobi Convention’, the following paragraphs were added in the Decisions of the Contracting Parties for COP 9:

Preamble

Acknowledging the partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to address the environmental challenges and opportunities posed by rapid urbanization, especially of coastal cities in the Western Indian Ocean region as articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda on sustainable cities and communities.

Decisions

• Decision CP.9/9. Climate change adaptation and mitigation
➢ To further urge Contracting Parties to consider undertaking climate change vulnerability assessments of their urban coastal areas, including of urban spatial planning processes, and to consider working towards integrating marine natural capital;
• Decision CP.9/13. Enhancing cooperation, collaboration and support with partners
➢ To request the Secretariat to collaborate with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and other partners to develop a regional action plan and road map to assist the Contracting Parties to integrate the New Urban Agenda into coastal cities in the Western Indian Ocean region for the protection of the marine and coastal environment;

COP 9 also made several decisions that were in support of the activities of the C&C project. These included decisions related to management of marine litter and municipal wastewater and marine spatial planning for the blue and ocean economy.