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Abidjan Final Communique

We, the Parties, Inter-governmental Bodies, Civil Society Organizations, Having met in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, within the Seen Hotel Conference Hall of July 2018 on the occasion of the First Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partners

Aware that wild aquatic fauna and flora species from West, Central and Southern Africa, form an integral and irreplaceable part of humanity’s natural heritage and must be protected for future generations.

Recognizing that numerous fauna species in the West African, Central and Southern Africa  sub regions are threatened with extinction as a result of consumption, illegal exploitation and illegal trade,including West African manatees, sea turtles, sharks, rays, dolphins, turtles, and aquatic birds among others;

Recalling the United Nations Convention on the Law of the framework regulating all activities to be carried out in the oceans and particularly to part XII of the Convention, which relates to the protection species,

Recalling the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy, adopted by the Assembly of the African Union at its twenty-second ordinary session, in January 2015,

Recalling the African strategy on combating illegal exploitation of and illicit trade in wild fauna and flora in Africa, adopted in 2015, in particular its provisions concerning the illicit trade in fisheries products and other marine species,

Recalling the African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety a Assembly of the African Union at its extraordinary summit in Lomé, To the development of the blue economy,

Strongly supporting the Abuja Recommendations on the Development of a Coordinated Counter Wildlife Trafficking Response in West Africa endorsed by ECOWAS on 4 July 2018.

Recalling Decision CP.12/14 that encourages partners to support commercial purposes of aquatic mammals, reptiles and amphibians and  meat used for consumption, on the traditional nature of the captures and domestic and external trade;

Considering Decision CP.12/14 also requesting the Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention, in partnership with relevant institutions, to develop a plan of action to combat illegal trade, illicit trafficking, consumption and other uses of protected, endangered and/or vulnerable marine and coastal fauna and flora;

We hereby approve the creation of a partnership the mission of implementation of the African Common Strategy on Combating Illegal Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa by addressing the issue of trade, capture aquatic species, including threatened and/or protected aquatic species a Africa, through coordinated, collaborative and effective action at local, regional and international levels .

And we recommend:

1) The creation of an ad hoc partnership steering committee mandate of the Abidjan Convention:
a) Develop the primary components of the partnership in targeted;
b) Propose its operating and resources mobilization mechanism

c)Finalize its Action Plan;

d) Finalize its Communication Plan;

e) Propose terms of reference and rules of procedure for the Steering Committee as well as mechanisms to resolve conflicts within the partnership.

2) That the Secretariat and the adhoc partnership steering committee review opportunities to promote the partnership, to fund its action plan and address other issues.

3) The development of a mechanism allowing the collaboration between the focal points of the
Abidjan Convention and the CITES focal points

4) A review of the possibility to involve non-coastal countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali in the partnership in order to take into account freshwater catchment area issues.

5) The establishment of a cooperation between the partnership and relevant organizations such as
CMS, AEWA, Ramsar.

Express our gratitude and thanks to the Government and people of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for their cordial hospitality, The Abidjan Convention Secretariat, WABiCC, OCEAN CARE and Wild Migration for their active involvement in the successful organization of the First Abidjan Aquatic Wildlife Partnership meeting (AAWP) on this 25th day of July 2018 within the Conference Room of the Seen Hotel, Abidjan, Cote d`Ivoire.

Editor’s Note: Published unedited