United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Ministers launch rejuvenated Nairobi convention to protect the Western Indian ocean`s environment

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Ministers and representatives of the 10 African countries sharing the Western Indian Ocean have signed a strategic new agreement to protect their marine environment. They have devised a 25-year programme of action aimed at ensuring efficient management of the marine and coastal environment in the larger Eastern and Southern African region.

The Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean has also been amended to take into account new provisions on emerging issues such as climate change and the need for an ecosystem-based management approach.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: 'The adoption of this important agreement signals a long process coming to fruition and sets a bright future for the Nairobi Convention. Thanks to the engagement and dedication of the parties to the Nairobi Convention, we can ensure that the unique ecosystems of the Western Indian Ocean can deliver sustainable development and well-being to the 60 million people who live and depend on its resources.'

With the signing of the final agreement, the Western Indian Ocean region becomes one of the three regional seas in the world to have a regional agreement focused on the control of land-based activities degrading and or polluting the marine waters of the region. The other regions with a similar agreement include the Wider Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea.

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