#02 2023

International stakeholder workshop wraps up first phase of the Ocean Accounts Framework community of practice

By Nicole du Plessis, Egagasini Node, NRF-SAEON

Nelson Mandela University hosted the final stakeholder workshop for the National Research Foundation (NRF) Community of Practice: Ocean Accounts Framework from 27 to 28 February in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. The workshop saw national and international stakeholders connect physically and online to reflect on the progress and outputs of the community of practice (CoP) over the past three years, a well as consider the way forward, as the CoP was successful in securing funding for the second two-year phase. 

The first day of the workshop consisted of feedback from each of the work programmes and the detailed outputs. SAEON, as lead on work programme 2 (WP2), was represented by Nicole du Plessis and Erika Brown. Their presentations covered the outreach and technical work on developing ecosystem accounts in Algoa Bay, including the website that was developed to house the outputs of WP2 and the CoP more broadly.

The day ended with a discussion of lessons learned for the CoP in considering its continuation.

Towards the second phase 

The second day considered the potential activities for the second phase of the CoP. This was divided into three sessions. The first was focused on identifying potential areas of expansion for the work within South Africa. Prof Tommy Bornman, manager of SAEON’s Elwandle Node, provided an overview of South Africa’s Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure (SMCRI) network and consideration of the Two Oceans Sentinel Site as a potential study area.

The second session highlighted potential stakeholder and collaborator networks in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) as the second phase of the CoP will include expansion to other areas in the WIO to test and develop the Ocean Accounts Framework. Nicole du Plessis provided an overview of key ocean governance institutions in the region.

The third session was focused on providing examples of existing national ocean accounting initiatives in the region. This session saw a presentation by Dr Paubert Mahatante, Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy of the Republic of Madagascar, on the development of the Blue Economy in his country. Mr Odwa Mtati and Dr Stephen Hosking of the South African International Maritime Institute presented on the economic accounts for South Africa. This was followed by Dr Stuart Laing presenting on the Blue Economy dashboard (developed through the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa – UNECA) for the Seychelles.

The workshop ended with a discussion on the way forward for phase 2 in respect of expanding the work in South Africa and the WIO.

The presentations covered the outreach and technical work on developing ecosystem accounts in Algoa Bay (Photo: Shutterstock)

The website (https://oceansea.saeon.ac.za/) that was developed to house the outputs of work programme 2 and the community of practice more broadly.