Homing in on environmental management

The African ports sector is working hard to build capacity through promoting environmental management The African ports sector is working hard to build capacity through promoting environmental management

The African ports sector is working hard to build capacity through promoting environmental management and enhanced performance through education, exchange of knowledge and experience, and collaborative research.

The first meeting of the Abidjan Convention Panel of Experts on Strategic Assessment of Port Environmental Issues, Policies and Programmes in West, Central and Southern Africa, took place in Abidjan, Code d’Ivoire from 5 to 7 May 2015.

It was organised by The Abidjan Convention Secretariat in collaboration with Ports Environmental Network-Africa (PENAf), the Ports Management Association for West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) and the Port Authority of Abidjan (PAA).

Chris Wooldridge, science coordinator, EcoPorts, told GreenPort: “I gained a strong sense of commitment and the port professionals in Africa have a wealth of knowledge and experience that could usefully be networked throughout the port sector as they in turn endeavour to apply good practice."

He said that the three-day meeting involving lectures, interactive workshops and a guided tour of the Port of Abidjan focused on identifying the priority environmental issues, the challenges of delivering sustainable port development, and the options for collaborative action.

The ‘take-home message’ from the meeting was expressed in a formal Declaration of Intent included the commitment to conduct a baseline study of environmental conditions of ports in the Convention region for purposes of informed policy-making.

This Declaration of Intent also included the adoption and application of ESPO EcoPorts’ tools through a programme of training to assist with the implementation of Environmental Management Systems and the building of internal capacity.

It also included the commitment to further strengthen the ports network by the organisation of an annual 'African Ports Environmental Conference' organised in collaboration by all parties behind the meeting to further the objectives of sustainable port development.

The Abidjan Convention covers a coastline of over 14000km from Mauritania to South Africa and includes the countries of Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo (Republic of), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo. Of these, 17 are currently parties to the Convention.

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