The following Article Appeared in the Awoko Press on April 2017. To read the full article as it appeared click here.
Sierra Leone News: EPA Clinches Vice Presidency of the Bureau of the Abidjan Convention
The Abidjan Convention is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas in the West, Central and Southern African region.
At the just concluded COP 12 meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Abidjan Convention, held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from 27 through 31st March, 2017, Sierra Leone due to its outstanding performance in the implementation of the Convention and related progress made towards domesticating the Convention has been elected as the Vice Chair to the Bureau of the Convention.
According to the provision of the Convention, the Bureau of the Abidjan Convention serves as the governing body of the convention, which deliberates on issues and ensures that the decisions adopted by contracting parties are implemented accordingly.
Last week in Abidjan, the Capital of Ivory Coast, the Twenty-Two member countries to the Abidjan Convention from North Africa right through to South Africa converged at the Twelfth Conference of parties (COP 12) to review the progress achieved during the 2014-2017 triennium, approve the Programme of Work and budget for 2017-2020 and decide on further actions of significance to the implementation of the Convention and its Action Plan.
The COP-12 meeting was organized in two segments. The Experts segment, ran from 27th to 29th March 2017 and deliberated on the various issues of the Agenda, including the proposed Decisions which were adopted by the Head of Delegations at the high level segment which took place on the 30th and the 31st, March 2017.
Recognizing the role of women in the marine and coastal zone management, Mrs. Haddijatou Jallow, Head of the Sierra Leone delegation convinced the COP 12 to include in the Abidjan Declaration a provision on gender concerns and the need for mainstreaming these into development programmes. A total of Twenty-Two decisions together with the Abidjan Declaration were adopted by the High level delegation of contracting parties to the Convention.
In the Next Action Plan, the COP requested the Abidjan Convention Secretariat to organize a meeting of plenipotentiaries where the Additional Protocols will be signed by contracting parties.
At the conclusion of the High level/Ministerial segment, the COP 12 endorsed the Bureau of the Abidjan Convention as follows;
1.Ivory Coast Chairperson
2.Sierra Leone and Ghana Vice Chairpersons
3.Republic of Congo and Namibia Rapporteur
Thus the COP as part of its mandates agreed on the date of the next meeting of Contracting Parties, to hold from 23 – 27th March, 2020. Regarding the venue, the COP agreed that as per the system of rotation, the host of the next COP would be one of the countries of Central Africa; Cameroun, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo or Gabon. Since Cameroun was not at the COP 12 meeting, consequently the meeting agreed that the secretariat write to those four countries setting out the basic criteria for hosting a meeting of contracting parties, and make decision based on the response.
The election of Sierra Leone for the position of Vice Chairperson to the Bureau of the Abidjan Convention Secretariat is another indication of the fact that the country is being recognised as a key player in matters relating to Multilateral Environmental Agreements. It is also an acknowledgement of the leadership role played by the Executive Chairperson of the EPA-SL in setting out a trajectory for environmental protection and management in Sierra Leone.