Kegler, Hauke, George, Rushingisha, Mwangi, Theuri, Obura, David, Tuda, Arthur, Msangameno, Daudi, Reuter, Hauke ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7751-9244 and Muhando, Christopher (2022) Strengthening regional regulatory frameworks and national capacity for handling marine biodiversity data in the Western Indian Ocean. WIO Science - Policy Platform Series, 1 (1). pp. 51-55.

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Abstract

Decision-makers need readily-available and accurate biodiversity data to make informed decisions concerning marine ecosystems’ protection and sustainable use. This data is often generated by a multitude of unrelated
stakeholders with sometimes diverging agendas. In congruence with limited data sharing, this can lead to a duplication of efforts and waste of precious financial and human resources. Eastern African countries’ oceans and coastal areas are home to abundant marine biodiversity, with immense ecological and socioeconomic value. Stakeholders have varying interests concerning shared ecosystems. Transboundary conservation goals, marine spatial planning efforts, and harmonised coastal management strategies are of great value for sustaining
ecological services for future generations and addressing potential spatial conflict conflicts. For sound coastal governance, decision-makers require access to accurate, current, and comprehensive data on the status of marine biodiversity to act on pressing environmental issues. However, marine biodiversity data may only be partially available for various reasons, including inaccessibility of unpublished or restricted data, dispersed storage locations, or legal requirements preventing the open sharing of data. Under these circumstances, effective data sharing is a most important issue and should be prioritised by policymakers and entities involved in research. Our recommendations are based on the outcomes of several expert workshops, qualitative interviews,
and the extensive experience of involved partners in East Africa. Firstly, we propose to align biodiversity and taxonomic data collection, reporting and sharing through common frameworks. Monitoring efforts
and data sharing across institutions and borders can be streamlined by creating regional sharing protocols and policies. Additionally, we suggest the installation of a regional inter-sectoral (ie academia, government,
policymakers, industry, traditional knowledge holders) expert panel on marine biodiversity information needs and handling/sharing strategies. We recommend that national governments start this process by designating representatives for the proposed regional inter-sectoral expert panel. Those representatives would ideally be part of existing initiatives like the Nairobi Convention Clearinghouse Mechanism or the National Focal Points of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Through regular exchanges, this community of practice could co-design the necessary regulatory frameworks on best practices regarding data collection protocols, sharing agreements and training efforts.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA5
Research affiliation: Integrated Modelling > Spatial Ecology and Interactions
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 2953-2604
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 08:16
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 11:39
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/5069

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