MeerWissen: African-German Partners for Ocean Knowledge

Marine and coastal resources are essential for food security and economic development, in Africa and everywhere. Still, the ocean is facing increasing threats such as habitat destruction, pollution and overexploitation of fish stocks. Effective management and holistic marine policies to conserve our ocean need to be based on knowledge and scientific research. This scientific information and data is, however, often lacking. The new BMZ-initiative MeerWissen responds to the need for a strong science to policy link. MeerWissen supports partnership projects between African and German marine research institutions and after a first call for proposals, 6 projects running for 2 years will start implementation in 2019. These partnership projects provide the starting point for facilitating the dialogue between science and policy, on the national, regional and international level. A first kick-off and co-design workshop with all project partners took place in South Africa from 5 to 7 March 2019. Hosted by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), the workshop was a great start for the initiative and allowed all projects to learn from one another, exchange and plan joint activities.
In addition, it was the launch of the MeerWissen Community, and all project partners proved their strong wish to keep up the open exchange and collaborative spirit. Among the participants from six African countries and Germany were also political stakeholders, including a representative from the Nairobi Convention Secretariat, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIF) and the National Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa.

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