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Purpose and objective

STAKES:

The West African ecoregion is characterised by an overwhelming richness in biodiversity represented by various critical habitats such as sea grasses, coral reefs, mangrove ecosystems, and rare and endangered species (monk seals, sea turtles, hippopotami, manatees, dolphins, whales and brown boobies). The region owes its productivity and richness in fishery resources to the presence of upwelling and ecosystems such as estuaries, rias, etc.

Given the existence of migratory species, shared resources of cross border habitats and the mobility of users, notably the fishermen in the sub region, stakeholders of marine and coastal conservation have acknowledged the need to tackle the management of the coastal area and its resources at sub regional level. A concerted approach is essential towards ensuring the conservation of the structure and functions of the marine and coastal ecosystems at regional level.

ONE SHARED VISION:

In 2002, a Regional Strategy for MPAs was developed by the various groups of stakeholders involved. The common vision set up for all is a “consistent network of marine protected areas in West Africa managed by strong institutions in a participatory manner and which enhance the natural and cultural diversity to contribute to the sustainable development of the region.”

In 2003, this regional strategy rapidly secured strong support from the political authorities of the countries concerned, through the signing of a general policy statement by ten ministers in charge of environment, protected areas and fishing in six countries (Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal).
It was as part of the implementation of this regional strategy that the RAMPAO Network was officially set up during its constituent assembly held in Praia, Cape Verde in April 2007. Then in 2010, the seven States formally recognised the Network through the signing of a declaration by 15 ministers, which enabled the Network to set up its institutional credibility and promote its development as a contribution to the implementation of the countries’ international undertakings.

ONE MISSION

RAMPAO’s mission is to “ensure, within the West African marine ecoregion that encompasses Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the maintaining of a coherent set of critical habitats necessary for the dynamic functioning of the ecological processes essential to the regeneration of the natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity for the benefit of societies.”
More specifically, the RAMPAO Network seeks to:

  • Put in a Network a set of MPAs representative of critical ecosystems and habitats necessary to the renewal of fishery resources, the rehabilitation and restoration of the critical habitats, and the preservation of biodiversity ;
  • Promote exchanges and mutual learning among members ;
  • Create synergies among MPAs on issues of common interest ;
  • Make MPAs of the region operational and functional ;
  • Strengthen the mutual capacities in terms of advocacy, defence of the interests and the representation of regional MPAs on the international scene.

PROSPECTS

  • Empowerment of the Network ;
  • Review of the regional strategy for MPAs in West Africa ;
  • Development and implementation of the action plan of the Network’s strategic focuses 2013 – 2016 ;
  • Ensure an efficient and sustainable management and governance systems for MPAs of the network;
  • Strengthen the capacities of Network members and inter-institutional cooperation for a stronger integration of MPAs and the Network into sectorial policies ;
  • Ensure enlightened decision-making for the integration of new MPAs in the Network and for the management of member MPAs based on in-depth and reliable knowledge of the West African marine and coastal ecosystems ;
  • Make the Network a dynamic and blossoming platform of exchanges, experience sharing and capitalization of good practices influencing the decision making process at local, national and sub-regional level, with the view to a sustainable management of marine and coastal resources.

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