Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

In order to achieve the objectives of its Integrated Maritime Strategy, the ECOWAS commission is holding an interdepartmental meeting to review the draft Action Plan of the EIMS from 20 to 22 March 2024 at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The EIMS is a legal instrument that provides a comprehensive reference framework for actions to be taken by the various stakeholders at national and regional levels.

The general objective of this meeting, which brings together different ECOWAS departments; representatives of ECOWAS Regional Fisheries Centers, ECOWAS institutions and agencies and West African Fisheries Commissions, is to make sure that the technical departments adopts the SMIC Action Plan in order to ensure integrated and coordinated implementation in line with the mission of the ECOWAS Commission.

The specific objective is to ensure that the priorities and actions set out in the Action Plan are in line with the 4X4 objectives of the Commission’s Management, at the level of sectoral policies (food and nutritional security, marine biodiversity, blue economy, etc.).

Three speeches were delivered at the opening ceremony. by Commodore Richard Maru Shammah, Director of CRESMAO, Mr. Cheikh Toure, Country Director – Côte d’Ivoire UNODC and H.E. Mrs. FANTA CISSE, Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Côte d’Ivoire.

In his speech, Commodore Richard Maru Shammah acknowledged the presence of experts at this meeting and recalled the multilateral aspect of the challenges related to the maritime sector, hence the need for a good adoption of the Action Plan as well as a good implementation on the part of the ECOWAS commission.

Mr. Cheikh Toure noted that some of the ECOWAS initiatives implemented in West Africa with the support of UNODC are in line with the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy. These include the EU-funded ECOWAS SWAIMS project. He further commended ECOWAS for its efforts to strengthen maritime safety and security and underscored the need for States to address specific challenges to combat maritime pollution and illegal exploitation of West African maritime zones.  Finally, he stressed the need for ECOWAS Member States to work together to ensure peace and stability in the region.

H.E. Mrs. Fanta CISSE welcomed all the participants to Côte d’Ivoire before pointing out that the multidisciplinary nature of the maritime sector was of concern to all the stakeholders present at the meeting. She then further concluded by saying that: “This strategy, which is the Community’s framework document for a response to the proper management and exploitation of the maritime domain, is based on inter-agency cooperation at national and regional levels. Its management must include, inter alia, political decisions, legal issues, regional security and defense, security forces, maritime and port administration”.

This Interdepartmental Meeting on the review of the draft action plan of the ECOWAS Integrated Married Strategy (SMIC) is organized with the support of the ECOWAS-SWAIMS project and ECOWAS partners including the European Union and UNODC.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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