MeerWissen - African-German Partners
for Ocean Knowledge

about

MeerWissen is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and part of BMZ’s activities in implementing its Ten-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries.

The project’s name ‘MeerWissen’ is a pun that plays on the German words for ‘sea’ (‘Meer’) and ‘more’ (‘mehr’), which are homophones, as well the word for ‘knowledge’ (‘Wissen’). The title perfectly captures the project’s aim: to know more about the ocean.

"Oceans and coasts
are the life support
system on which
we depend"

Time to turn the tide

The ocean makes up 71 per cent of our planet’s surface. Life as we know it would not be possible without it: fish feed millions of people, healthy coral reefs buffer shorelines against waves, storms and floods, and mangroves store enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. Coastal regions are the sites of important cultural developments, both past and present, and it goes without saying that the resources provided by the ocean are essential for economic development. These goods and services help to ensure the wellbeing of our growing population. By 2050 more than three quarters of the global population – estimated to reach 9 billion people – will live within 100 km of a coastline.

Yet the ocean is more at risk than ever. Overfishing, habitat loss, pollution and climate change are only some of the threats marine and coastal ecosystems face. These man-made pressures put ecosystems and their benefits at risk.


The vast majority of the world’s commercially used fish stocks are either overfished (33%) or fished to their very limits (60%) (FAO 2018)


19% of coral reefs worldwide have been destroyed (Status of Coral Reefs of the World 2008)


8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year (Jambeck et al 2015)


35% of the planet’s mangroves have been destroyed (MEA 2005)


Cooperating to build knowledge

Given the growing pressure on our ocean, BMZ will continue to step up its activities to ensure that future generations will be able to benefit from healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. The Ten-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries brings together all of BMZ’s ocean-related activities. To successfully implement the Plan of Action, BMZ supports a growing number of projects in partner countries and regions and in cooperation with international partners.

Achieving the targets of the 2030 Agenda – including Sustainable Development Goal 14 (‘Life below water’) – requires enhanced global partnerships that bring together multiple actors to mobilise all available resources and capacities. Close collaboration with marine research is key to provide decision-makers at both policy and management level with up-to-date information to effectively protect and manage marine resources. In many African countries, however, this information and data is often unavailable, inaccessible or outdated. MeerWissen was developed in this setting to address the challenge of lacking data and limited science for policy transfer.

MeerWissen aims at improving the conditions for
knowledge- and science-based policy-making for the conservation and
sustainable use of the ocean in selected African countries by...

… strengthening the capabilities of African partners in marine research and building knowledge through African-German partnership projects

… stimulating dialogue and the transfer of knowledge between marine researchers and policy-makers

… fostering digital solutions, innovation and the use of new technologies

If you want to learn more about MeerWissen or are interested in collaborating, please get in touch with us at info@meerwissen.org.

MeerWissen is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and part of BMZ’s activities in implementing its Ten-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries. The implementation of MeerWissen is facilitated by GIZ’s Marine Conservation Support Project. In the Western Indian Ocean region, MeerWissen is implemented in cooperation with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA).