While the Network draws people and organizations together, a unifying strategy is required to move forwards. A product of the 2017 African Marine Waste Conference will be the “Strategy for Marine Waste: Guide to Action for Africa”.
Strategy documents on marine debris exist for different regions of the world, and others, like the Honolulu Strategy, have a world-wide perspective. No existing strategies adequately deal with the issues, cultures and circumstances of Africa. Additionally, a strategy for Africa will have far greater traction and be more readily adopted by the people of Africa if it is created by African communities for African countries, using African examples and case studies. This guide for Africa needs to be produced by the people of Africa while calling upon the experience of experts from all over the world.
An additional reason for producing this strategy is that existing strategies have become outdated and do not reflect recent developments in research and education, nor do they include principles of the Circular Economy, which Africa must harness.
A strategy of this nature produced for many countries cannot be prescriptive, or even call upon any organization or country to implement its recommendations. It is an informative guide to best practice, leaving implementation options open to the reader. For this reason, the strategy is entitled: “Strategy for Marine Waste: Guide to Action for Africa”, emphasizing that it is a guide and not a prescriptive document.
The content of the guide will suggest sensible implementation and monitoring plans that support adaptive management. To be effective, the strategy must therefore provide a clear plan for what needs to be done: a road map for Africa.
People everywhere would like to know what they should do to reduce forms of pollution, to benefit economically, to have a healthier environment and to reduce the loss of animal life due to plastic. The “Guide to Action for Africa” is written for all: for people in government, academic institutions, business, municipalities, households and villages.
The “Guide to Action for Africa” will be available to the people of every country of Africa, each government, each stakeholder, the Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions, and the African Union. It will be used by international agencies such as United Nations Environment (UNE), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as well as by universities, business chambers and their members, NGOs, schools, societies, clubs, conservancies, and more. An online version will also be made available to improve accessibility.
Three multi-stakeholder workshops have been held to craft the content of the “Guide to Best Practice for Africa” with a plan to have a working draft available for discussion at the African Marine Waste Conference in July.
The goal is to publish the first edition in December 2017.