West Indian Ocean Governance & Exchange Network (WIOGEN)

West Indian Ocean Region

Project duration
June 2019 to June 2021

project summary

WIOGEN (West Indian Ocean Governance & Exchange Network) is a scientific networking platform and an integrative vision of social learning approaches that foster regional ocean governance. The partnership project comprises a transdisciplinary institutionally driven coalition of academic, policy-related, private and civil society partner institutions across the West Indian Ocean Region. It complements other regional marine science networks by focusing explicitly on ocean and coastal governance, thus systematically bridging the social and marine sciences. Furthermore, the networking project places emphasis on the capacity development of early career ocean governance researchers, policy-makers, tertiary educators, and development practitioners.

Thematically, the Science and Policy Network will be structured around three selected ocean governance themes:

  • nutritional security, sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and livelihoods
  • marine spatial planning and coastal management
  • biodiversity conservation, pollution and habitat loss

The WIOGEN consortium is strengthened by joint advisory roles played by major regional, national and local actors that include the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and

Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean (CORDIO), alongside state-based scientific institutes, civil society organisations and policy entities. To achieve its overarching goal, the partnership format adopts an inclusive, democratically organised science network structure for scientific exchange and joint academic publishing. Additionally, it aims to co- design and roll out tailored pedagogic and learning practices for capacity development of early and mid-career participants, with a focus on virtual and other experimental formats. Lastly, the network will act in an intra-regional and trans-continental advisory capacity (East Africa- Europe) – based on the model of an inclusively growing/evolving institutional structure.


Integrated ocean governance approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the West Indian Ocean

Facilitating the co-development (science-to-policy) of integrated ocean governance concepts and approaches

Strengthening the intra- and inter-regional mobility of scientists, policy-makers, educators and civil society actors through institutional exchanges

Early career learning and capacity development through inter- and transdisciplinary learning approaches and tools

Production of science advice for policy-makers

Co-development of a regional Graduate School concept (among WIOGEN members)

Encouraging a community of practice for ocean governance in the region

areas of work

Co-development of ocean governance knowledge

  • Two conferences (kick-off and closing)
  • Knowledge dissemination and archiving through open access website and MeerWissen Community
  • Publication of three open access scientific documents
  • Maintain open network format for virtual participation via social media, listservs, etc.

Early career capacity development

  • Production of science policy-advice organisation of three Early Career Researchers’ (ECRs) training schools across the region
  • Co-development and archiving of all virtual learning content development (open access)
  • Showcasing the work of ECRs through website and via annual awards
  • Development of early career and gender-equitable leadership through two dedicated positions within the WIOGEN Management Committee

Staff Exchanges

  • Facilitation of 15 staff exchanges with a focus on early career researchers
  • Fair exchange of intra- and inter-regional staff with emphasis on underrepresented countries
  • Facilitation of East African - European exchanges for co-learning

Production of science policy-advice

  • Presenting collaborative work generated via WIOGEN at national and regional meetings and policy fora
  • Production and dissemination of three policy briefs
  • Continual concept development via regular Management Committee meetings and hosted events
  • Graduate School Concept to be presented at the WIOGEN Closing Conference
  • The Concept and related supporting material to be shared with DAAD and the broader MeerWissen Community


International Ocean Institute (IOI)

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)