Thursday, 2 October 2008

Big meetings

I'm currently sitting in a large gathering of projects involved in the marine environment from all around the region, not only the three partner projects in the ASCLME Programme (ASCLME, SWIOFP and WIO-LaB), but also a diverse range of other projects.

A large problem with managing transboundary resources is that there are not only many countries involved - itself a major challenge - but also many projects involved. All of them are doing excellent work within the region, but sometimes the communication and cooperation between the projects isn't all it could be. Essentially, what we'd all like to do is work together, so that we don't end up duplicating our efforts and so that we can effectively share our knowledge and results, and perhaps work more closely together where particular focus areas overlap. People have been talking about this for years, but we've never quite managed to get this level of collaboration really going.

For these reasons, we are hosting a pioneering 3 day Regional Project Coordination Forum here in Mauritius, at the Hotel La Plantation, a few minutes north of Port Louis. A dedicated meeting to really introduce the projects to each other and then, perhaps more importantly, spend time talking about joint aims, coordination and how to work together, is exactly what we need - and has, as far as we know, not been done in the region previously.

For the last three days, the ASCLME Project has been discussing coordination with its closest partners, with a particular emphasis on cruise coordination, data and information, capacity building and communication; I haven't had a chance to discuss with my colleagues yet how those meetings went, but I think they probably went very well.

The present meeting, however, has a broader vision. Today's meeting is designed to allow projects to briefly introduce themselves and outline their aims and activities. I don't have a full list, but some of the projects either present or represented include the IRD from France, ACEP, WIOMSA, AMESD, FAO and their projects SWIOFC and EAF-Nansen, GOOS-Africa and CLIVAR/TRIO, Indian Ocean Commission, ReCoMaP, RAMP-COI, GEF-WIO Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention Project, International Knowledge Management, and several other projects whose names I unfortunately do not have in front of me.

I'll go around with a camera later and post some pictures. (Edit: I have added a few pictures).

Dear James Stapley,

I recently got in contact with Dr. Isabelle Ansorge of The University of Cape Town. She'll be joining the cruise on the 6th of October. She told me about this very interesting project. I recently graduated (Msc.) as a marine biologist and am intersted in fisheries and sharks. i was wondering if you could tell me if you also captured any particular shark species during this cruise?


Jurgen Batsleer
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