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Groups seek marine protected areas in Nigeria, others

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A virtual meeting on freshwater and marine ecosystems has called for the creation of a marine protected area that incorporates territories in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon.

The meeting organised by civil society groups had risen with the unanimous decisions after a webinar on freshwater and marine ecosystems held recently.

They reviewed the threats to aquatic ecosystems in the region and examined ways of monitoring and protecting them with participants and speakers drawn from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and South Africa and stakeholders made up of fishers, civil society organization members, students and academics.

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They spoke on need to support the preservation of aquatic (marine and freshwater) ecosystems and livelihoods in the Congo Basin area as well as in the Gulf of Guinea and to empower fishers and other community members to actively monitor and protect their ecosystems.
 
At the opening of the meeting, the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr. Nnimmo Bassey said that “it is time to raise the capacity of our fishers to monitor aquatic ecosystems, share knowledge, map threatened and valuable species, network with other fishers within and across borders. Water is life is not a mere slogan.”
 
In the 12-point resolution signed by Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria; River Ethiope Trust Foundation (RETFON), Nigeria; South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, South Africa; Oilwatch Africa; FishNet Alliance and seven others resolved that policies on protected areas and conservation approaches must be gender sensitive, socially inclusive and context specific; traditional knowledge and norms should be integrated into all biodiversity conservation processes; governments should fund related research in institutions/agencies.

The resolutions include, movements and networks (such as FishNet Alliance) on freshwater and marine ecosystems should be formed and/or encouraged across the Congo Basin and the Gulf of Guinea; polluting extractive activities in our waters should be banned.

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