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New MeerWissen project selected to strengthen marine Nature-based Solutions in Africa

MeerWissen, 19.12.2022

The MeerWissen Initiative – African-German Partners for Ocean Knowledge and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) are pleased to announce the fourth winning project of the 3rd MeerWissen Call for Proposals, to improve the knowledge base for marine Nature-based Solutions in African coastal states.

The selected project “Participatory Modeling for Nature-based Solutions in the WIO-Region“ (PAMO) will provide decision makers with decision support tools to facilitate the implementation of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Western Indian Ocean region. The proposed decision support tools facilitate modeling of scenarios and decision-making for the protection and sustainable use of coastal ecosystems. The innovative approach helps to move beyond analysing individual NbS to facilitating an NbS-based management of coastal resources by integrating knowledge from local stakeholders, scientific institutions, and societal and environmental projections. Including local knowledge in scientific research is of great importance in order to develop solutions that ensure sustainable livelihoods.

Gunnar Finke, Team Leader for Marine Conservation at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Head of the MeerWissen Secretariat says: “The newly launched partnership project will play an important role in further exploring marine NbS to societal challenges in Tanzania and Madagascar. On behalf of the MeerWissen secretariat I congratulate the selected project for developing this promising idea to improve coastal livelihoods and the state of marine ecosystems. Now it’s time to step into action and make them a reality!’”

The 3rd MeerWissen Call for Proposals is an official contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) that is being coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. The newly selected project is now endorsed as an official Ocean Decade Action and formally recognised as part of the Ocean Decade.

“We are delighted to have this new initiative join the ranks of Ocean Decade Actions. We thank the MeerWissen Initiative for the continued collaboration to support coastal Nature-based solutions in Africa which is a priority region for the Ocean Decade”, said Julian Barbière, Global Coordinator of the Ocean Decade and Head of the Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section of IOC/UNESCO.

The selected project is one of four winning projects of the 3rd MeerWissen Call for Proposals undertaken in partnership with African and German marine research institutions and a thematic focus on “Strengthening biodiversity conservation with marine NbS in Africa”. PAMO is a joint project of the Tanzanian Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam and the German Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research. In Madagascar the envisaged cooperation partner is the University of Toliara. The African-German partnership projects also aim to facilitate the use and uptake of solutions in national strategies and action plans.

Over the next two and a half years, the new projects engage in a Co-Design phase to develop a shared project approach which will then be implemented with activities to take place across Ghana, Madagascar, Tunisia, Tanzania and South Africa. These activities will address a wide range of challenges, from mitigating climate change and flooding, and reducing coastal erosion risks to combatting watershed pollution.

The MeerWissen Initiative’s support for the total of four new projects is made possible through funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a maximum amount of 360,000 euros for each project. The funding includes a Co-Design phase of up to 9 months, followed by an implementation phase of two years.

Marine NbS play a significant role in safeguarding the livelihoods of coastal populations. They attempt to simultaneously address multiple challenges, by combining measures for climate adaptation and mitigation, coastal protection, food security, as well as biodiversity conservation. An increasing number of coastal nations in Africa are developing strategies to implement marine NbS. This stresses the urgent need for new, innovative ocean science to build the knowledge base for informed policy decisions for marine and coastal management. Through the four new partnership projects the MeerWissen Initiative will help strengthen biodiversity conservation with marine NbS in Africa.

For more information about the other three new partnership projects: Three new MeerWissen projects selected to strengthen marine Nature-based Solutions in Africa.

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About the MeerWissen Initiative:

The Initiative MeerWissen – African-German Partners for Ocean Knowledge seeks to provide policymakers with the scientific information they need to take carefully considered decisions for the effective management and conservation of Africa’s ocean and coasts. The MeerWissen Initiative strengthens partnerships between marine research institutions in Africa and Germany. It builds on the regional expertise of African partner countries and Germany’s internationally leading role in marine research. The initiative helps to ensure that future policy decisions are based on better information availability. MeerWissen is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and facilitated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

About the Ocean Decade:

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.