Marine litter and its consequential degradation of the marine environment constitutes one of the most widespread and pervasive pollution challenges facing the world's most valuable natural resources (coastal habitats, coral reefs, wildlife) which support important economic activities, including fisheries and tourism. A concerted regional approach to addressing this environmental and social menace is required. This will afford stakeholders at national and regional levels, the opportunity to strengthen interactive linkages among partners in West Africa to conduct cutting-edge research on biological, ecological, environmental, and socio-economic problems associated with marine litter to co-produce knowledge and improve human resources capacity in related affairs.
Objectives: The overall objective is to establish and promote a network of research and development actors, to accelerate scientific research in marine litter and coastal degradation, and strengthen the interlinkages and partnerships between ACE Impact Centres and collaborators across the West African Region as a whole. Specifically, the network will: (1) enhance the understanding of scientists, civil society, non-governmental and governmental organizations on marine litter and coastal degradation across the West African Region, (2) enhance coherence and coordination of capacity building in marine litter and coastal degradation, and (3) foster country specific-actions towards protecting and conserving coastal and marine environments.
Expected results: The Network is expected to achieve the following: (1) produce an in-depth report on the major issues on marine litter and coastal degradation in West Africa, (2) enhance theoretical knowledge and practical skills of the institutional partners, students, and staff of the involved ACE centers and coastal communities in the intervention countries, (3) develop a data repository on marine litter in West Africa in support of policymakers at the National and Regional levels to take actions for pollution control and sustainable conservation of marine and coastal resources, and (4) establish a functional network of relevant stakeholders concerned with conducting research and engaging relevant policymakers in addressing marine litter related challenges.