During the Blue Economy conference held in Nairobi on 26-28 November 2018, the two EU projects implemented by Expertise France, GoGIN and CRIMARIO, successfully organized a side-event on maritime domain awareness (MDA), gathering a hundred delegates from 20 countries – see the programme and the speaker’s biographies
Bruno Pozzi, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya, firstly reminded the EU comprehensive approach to strengthen maritime security in Africa and its moto “No development without security”. He highlighted the pragmatic approach carried out by the operations and projects and their concrete achievements both in Indian Ocean and Gulf of Guinea.
The first 4 speakers explained why maritime strategies are needed and what are the key elements. Glen Forbes (OceanusLive) reminded the importance of information sharing and gave practical cases to achieve it. Then John Steed (UNODC) emphasized the challenges of capacity building in a post-conflict environment (Somalia case), and the necessity of both national and regional cooperation for cracking maritime crimes.
Cyrille Atonfack (Cameroon Navy) presented the numerous challenges faced by Gulf of Guinea countries for securing their seas and the architecture organizing the cooperation between the States and their regional communities. Because maritime insecurity is an obstacle to develop the blue economy, Marianne Péron-Doise (CRIMARIO) advocated the importance of maritime domain awareness (MDA), which was illustrated by the following 4 speakers.
Bouke Berns (EUNAVFOR) detailed the role of MSCHOA and its tools for the shipping industry, concluding on the need of information sharing and “Information exchange is a two-way street”. David Nattrass (CRIMARIO) gave a full picture of the web-based platform IORIS, its functionalities, maintenance and administration as well as the ongoing discussions on the regional governance. Ronny Matatiken (RCOC), insisted into the linkage between national maritime strategies and the regional cooperation, organized around two regional centres in the western Indian Ocean; the RCOC based in Seychelles started to use IORIS together with the RMIFC in Madagascar.
Finally Thomas Tarrade (GoGIN) presented the specific challenge of MDA in the Gulf of Guinea, highlighting the various levels of information sharing and the new design of GoGIN for supporting the national and transnational structures involved in maritime surveillance.
The attendees raised several questions and issues: How to establish trust with private sector? how to involve the youth and education? how to avoid conflicts between coastal communities, fishers and industrial uses?