The second meeting of states signatory to the African
Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was held
in Dakar, Senegal, 5-7 March 2008 to review progress made
and discuss the further implementation of this CMS Article
IV agreement. It was the first meeting of the signatories
since they met in May 2002. A major objective of the meeting
was to encourage states from non-African countries to
support and sign the MoU, alongside organisations concerned
with the conservation of marine turtles.
Delegates and experts from 21 signatory range states
attended the meeting, along with observers and experts
from France, USA, UK and Spain. There were also a number
of NGO representatives from African countries and marine
CMS Deputy Executive Secretary, Lahcen El Kabiri, represented
CMS at a senior level. He organised the meeting in collaboration
with the Coordination Unit (Unité régionale
des tortues marines de la côte Atlantique URTOMA)
based in Dakar, within the Interim secretariat of Environmental
matters in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(SINEPAD). CMS established a partnership with SINEPAD
to coordinate implementation of the turtle agreement.
Kilaparti Ramakrishna, UNEP Senior Advisor for Environmental
Law and Conventions, attended the meeting. UNEP also contributed
funding to the meeting.
Delegates attended presentations on various topics from
the field of marine turtle conservation along the Atlantic
coast of Africa. The report of the Nairobi 2002 meeting,
which was presented at the meeting, informed on key recommendations
adopted since then and the partnership established with
the environmental component of NEPAD (New Partnership
for Africa’s Development). Participants focused
on their national activities ranking from local initiatives
undertaken by NGOs to the creation of marine turtle protected
areas, in addition to external support for turtle conservation
projects with partners. The progress made by the Coordination
Unit in 2007 and 2008 through visits by the coordinator
to countries such as Mauritania and Cameroon was also
noted, in addition to participation in international meetings
on marine turtle science and conservation.
Updates of the Conservation Plan, the finalisation of
new National Report templates, and as the establishment
of a data base on marine turtles were also on the agenda.
The participants unanimously appreciated the broad attendance
by experts involved in conserving turtles within the framework
of the CMS MoU for the Indian Ocean and South East Asia
region (IOSEA). The meeting will help the Abidjan MoU
for Atlantic Africa and IOSEA to implement the strategy
for marine turtle conservation in the Eastern Atlantic
and the Indian Ocean regions in a comprehensive and more
Under the chairmanship of Senegal, the meeting adopted
an amendment of the MoU text permitting the establishment
of an Advisory Committee, the official adoption of the
Coordination Unit already operating and specific encouragement
for important range states to join the MoU. The last point
invites concerned countries to join and add value to this
key agreement for turtle conservation, which CMS and stakeholders
have managed to revitalize over the last three years.
Amendments were agreed and range states were requested
to comment on the text and inform the CMS Secretariat
accordingly by 21 March 2008.
60 participants concluded their work with an excursion
to the famous Gorée Island and visited the future
premises of a Scientific Unit to be established in collaboration
with Dakar University in the framework of a Sea and Marine
Turtles Museum project.