Ocean Governance Training Programme 2023

The International Ocean Institute – Southern Africa (IOI-SA) hosted the 11th Ocean Governance Training Programme from the 4th to the 29th of September 2023, in Cape Town, South Africa. We were very excited to welcome 23 local and international participants: 15 from South Africa, and 8 participants from Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya (2), Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania. During the course, participants had the opportunity to engage with regional experts in a range of ocean governance thematic areas.  Course content was complimented with interactive sessions, and group discussion.  Field trips provided an opportunity to apply the learnings in a practical setting.

The 4 weeks were characterized by thoughtful and enthusiastic input from the participants. We encouraged peer-to-peer learning and group exercises throughout the training. Practical sessions included a risk assessment exercise, group work on multilateral environmental agreements and a simulated marine spatial planning process, using the interactive board game donated by IOC-UNESCO.

One group exercise ran throughout the four-week period and involved the development of a policy brief on one of four broad topics listed below:

  • Opportunities from green shipping and green ports for reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Small scale fisheries: policy implementation challenges;
  • Oil and gas production: impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems;
  • Marine pollution:  policy approaches for reducing marine plastic pollution from land-based sources.

The field trips formed an integral part of the technical course schedule, anchoring the course content with practical examples, and providing the participants with an opportunity to explore areas around Cape Town through the lens of ocean governance.  For many of the participants, this was their first time to visit some of the world-famous sites of the Western Cape.  Highlights included visits to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Two Oceans Aquarium, Kraaifontein recycling plant, Zandvlei Nature Reserve and Shark Spotters.

SAIMI Short training for local Government official and traditional leaders in coastal areas.  

The South African International Maritime Institute invited the International Ocean Institute of Southern Africa to be a partner in developing and presenting a short course at local level to enable municipal officials and traditional leaders to engage effectively with Blue/Oceans Economy projects and programmes in their area.

Judy Beaumont and André Share successfully facilitated three courses this year, 2-6 July Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo districts, 27-28 July Amathole Districts and 16-17 October Sarah Baartman Districts.

The expected outcomes for the course were: 

  • Enhance the trainee’s capacity to understand the Blue/Oceans Economy and its related projects.
  • Enlighten the trainees about the relevant policy and legislation informing and regulating the use of coastal and marine areas.
  • Enable the trainees to participate in the Blue/Oceans Economy activities from an informed point of view.
  • Equip the trainees with the relevant knowledge that will enable them to deal with both internal and external maritime stakeholders and understand the socio-economic and environmental impact of Blue/Oceans Economy related activities/projects, and the relevant legal framework.

International Coastal Cleanup Day

Saturday 16 September, International Coastal Cleanup Day, Ocean Governance training participants braved the cold and rain, in the early hours of the morning at Milnerton Beach for a beach cleanup. The cleanup initiative was coordinated by various organizations, such as Save a Fishie, Sentinel Ocean alliance, Parley Tv, and Zero Waste SA.  The beach was not in a good state after the storm, strewn with shredded plastic, microplastics, cotton bud sticks, lollipop sticks, straws, horrible nurdles and so much more. Everyone pitched in with INCREDIBLE effort, contributing to the conservation of our ocean and volunteering their free time for International Coastal cleanup day.

World Ocean Day 2023

World Oceans Day, the International Ocean Institute Southern African teamed up with Cape Kayak Adventures for a day of celebration in raising awareness about the importance of our ocean to promote their conservation.  The ocean plays a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate, providing resources and livelihoods for people all over the world and with that supports a variety of marine biodiversity. Unfortunately, they are also under threat from a range of human activities, such as overfishing, pollution and climate change.

A step towards a cleaner and healthier ocean we invited the public to celebrate World Oceans Day with us. Winter rain cleans our streets, but along with it, so much plastic trash gets swept into our ocean. Three Anchor Bay beach is known to accumulate a lot of litter directly from the ocean and the objective of the cleanup was to pick up as much of the floating litter at the water surface. On Saturday the 10th of June, Cape Kayak offered complimentary trips to the public, for 24 people to assist us with an ocean clean-up.

This experience was led by Kirshia Govender, IOI-SA and Tracy Rauch, Cape Kayak Adventures, and her team of guides to allow for an informed experience highlighting the marine life in Table Bay including the threats to them. A fun experience to celebrate, appreciate and conserve our marine life by removing as much marine waste as possible.

 Credit: Cape Kayak Adventures


Credit: Few pieces of large litter, but plenty of smaller broken up pieces of plastic floating at the surface collected from the kayak using nets.

Positive feedback from the public, who would like to do more cleanups in future, and be more involved in ocean conservation activities with Cape Kayak and IOI-SA.

Photo Credit: Cape Kayak Adventures

National Small-scale Fisheries Governance Training, Philippines.

Following a request by the Philippines for assistance in the development of an National Programme of Action for Small-scale
Fisheries (NPOA-SSF), FAO and IOI-SA developed and facilitated a 3-day training workshop earlier this year. The National Training Workshop on the Small-scale Fisheries Guidelines and Development of an NPOA-SSF in Philippines was held from 20-22nd June 2023 with the following objectives:

  1. To contribute towards developing the capacity of members of the National Task Team and relevant stakeholders to implement the SSF Guidelines;
  2. To contribute towards creating an enabling environment for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines; and
  3. To support the NPOA-SSF development process.

The course included several background presentations and an exercise on the development of an NPOA-SSF based on the Draft Toolkit developed by the FAO to guide the development of National Plans of Action on SSF (NPOA-SSF). The exercise ran across all 3 days and included a Stakeholder Mapping exercise, a Governance Review and Gap Analysis, and the 3 developments of a workplan for the development of the NPOA.

Opening remarks were made by Mr André Share on behalf of IOI-SA, Dr Lionel Dabbadie, the FAO Representative in Philippines and Mr Isidro M. Velayo Jr, Assistant Director: Technical Services of the Bureau for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The majority of participants were members of the National Task Team, referred to as the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) for the development of the NPOA-SSF. They included the NPOA-SSF coordinator, the Bureau for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), representatives of Local Government and fisher organisations, as well as a number of academics and NGOs. The course was facilitated by IOI-SA and the two advisors, Harold Monteclaro and Alice Ferrer.

Ocean Academy 2023

This year the International Ocean Institute-SA partnered with the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation in conceptualising and developing an Ocean Academy focused on expanding ocean literacy, for a diverse group of participants. By providing free locally relevant, entry-level online education programmes, the Ocean Academy enabled interested participants to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to understand the complexities of the ocean and its local and global effects, now and in a changing future, laying the foundations for more informed understanding and personal daily decision-making.

First course was hosted online earlier this year in June and the second course recently in November 2023. It consisted of six 3h30min sessions on a Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon over a two-week period. The programme was marketed South African early career professionals who work in the ocean space but don’t necessarily have a marine science or ocean governance background.

We received over 200 applications, a variety of candidates with various marine backgrounds and experience. Candidates were selected and split into two groups, and could either attend training in June or in November. 

Some of the Ocean Academy November 2023 participants, participating in an online group activity on local marine ecosystems.

The Ocean Academy explored what the ocean means for life on earth, and to each of us; marine and coastal biodiversity, ecosystem goods & services; challenges facing our oceans and coasts; climate change: what it means for our oceans and coasts and the blue economy.

Ocean Academy June 2023, Responses of what the ocean means to them.

In the realm of ocean literacy and ocean governance, the past year has been an inspiring voyage marked by strides toward stewardship, sustainability, and collective responsibility. At the international Ocean Institute- Southern African our commitment to nurturing leaders and fostering expertise in managing our planet’s marine world has seen remarkable growth and achievement. We look forward to inviting new candidates and hosting two courses in the new year.

“I am immensely grateful for the enriching experience I’ve had with the International Oceans Academy course. Throughout the program, I delved into a plethora of topics that significantly broadened my understanding of marine ecosystems and conservation efforts. The comprehensive curriculum covered vital aspects such as the blue economy, shedding light on sustainable practices that balance economic development with the conservation of ocean resources. Disaster risk management lessons equipped me with the knowledge to address and mitigate potential threats to marine environments. Learning about turtle rehabilitation and shark education provided valuable insights into the critical efforts required to protect these vulnerable species. Additionally, the course emphasised the importance of recycling to prevent ocean pollution, instilling a sense of responsibility for the well-being of our oceans. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the International Oceans Academy for this enlightening journey, and I look forward to applying these lessons to contribute positively to our planet’s aquatic ecosystems. Thank you!”

“Firstly I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to be part of this amazing programme more especially because I studied environmental management which focuses more on the inland environment however now my knowledge is extended on marine environment including sea zones, marine animals as well as coastal laws. This programme opened my mind in so many things I’m now more interested and encouraged to save the environment as whole and not to be shy to spread the word.”