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1. Background

Specific for Abidjan Convention!

This report has been produced as part of the Abidjan Convention State of the Marine Environment pilot project. The project contributes to a specific sub-component of objective 2 of the UNEP programme "Implementation of the UNEP Marine and Coastal Strategy for Africa 2010-2014: Assessment and Capacity Building on the valuation of ecosystem goods and services and socio-economic assessments of the most vulnerable cities and local communities".

The activities in the project focused on assisting countries in Western Africa to build and strengthen institutional capacity for marine management in general and marine assessments specifically.

The activities focused, amongst others, on a country driven approach to assemble precise comprehensive information about the national status, trends and drivers of change, of the marine and coastal environment in four countries of the Abidjan Convention Region, including the Republic of the Congo.

More specifically, this State of the Marine Environment (SOME) report is a delivery of the project and is based upon the developed common reporting template for SOME reporting towards the Abidjan Convention. This template is aligned with other Conference of the Parties (COP) reporting formats of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Convention on Wetlands (also known as the RAMSAR Convention) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and with the structure and guidelines of the UN Regular Process (World Ocean Assessment), hereby allowing up scaling and development of the SOME reports and reporting towards the UN Regular Process.

This report is based on the outcomes of the regional capacity building workshop on State of the Marine Environment reporting, organized in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire from 31 October to 3 November 2013, using expert elicitation and existing available information from global, regional and national data providers (physico-chemical, biological and socio-economic data), available national datasets and statistics, information and input from scientific institutions and national experts on the different environmental issues.

The workshop was attended by regional socio-economic, physical and biodiversity experts from the region of the Guinea Current, including Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia and Sierra Leone and was initially intended to produce a regional SOME report for the Guinea Current region.

It has to be taken into consideration that the results cannot be seen as representative for the full Guinea Current LME region considering that only five member states from the Guinea Current LME area could be invited to the workshop, and the limited number of experts per country (budgetary reasons).

Considering the limitations of the workshop results and available information, this report has to be seen as a first step. A major outcome of the report is that it identifies gaps in knowledge and capacity for the development of a full scale SOME report.