Capacity Development

© UNESCO; Working groups at the regional Bid Writing workshop

Capacity development in Ocean Science is one of the core mandates of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and therefore also for IOCAFRICA.

The two purposes of the IOC, as stated in its Statues, are as follows:

  • The purpose of the Commission is to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in research, services and capacity-building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States.
  • The Commission will collaborate with international organizations concerned with the work of the Commission, and especially with those organizations of the United Nations system which are willing and prepared to contribute to the purpose and functions of the Commission and/or to seek advice and cooperation in the field of ocean and coastal area scientific research, related services and capacity-building.

IOCAFRICA in particularly works on several projects to meet these purposes.

IOCAFRICA Capacity Development concept note

This initiative aims to build African capacity to access and utilize real-time (and near real-time) ocean and coastal data from insitu and satellite observations, as well as those generated from ocean models to generate useful services for local benefit. Relevant data sources will be identified and documented; manuals and course materials providing information on tools for discovery, analysis and visualization of the data and products will be prepared and disseminated to marine training and research institutions in Africa; and experts from Africa will be trained on the use of the tools and data to generate products for management of the ocean and coastal environment and resources.

African Summer School on "Application of Ocean and Coastal Ocean Data and Modelling products"

© Rjruizii, source: Wikipedia; University of Ghana

The goal of the African Summer School on Application of Ocean and Coastal Data and Modelling Products is to build African capacity to access and utilize ocean and coastal data (and relevant meteorological data) from insitu and satellite observations, as well as those generated from ocean models to produce useful services for local use, for a wide variety of human and economic benefit purposes. On the basis of case studies, the participants will learn how to optimise the use of widely available data and analysis tools.

The summer school is organized in five parts which must be covered by all participants:

  • April – June 2014: Preparatory work: The participants will be provided with reading assignments and given tasks to implement in preparation for the training workshops.
  • 9 – 13 June 2014: Training workshop will be held at the University of Ghana, Accra. The topics will include: Introduction to concepts ©of ocean models; overview of oceanic and coastal processes that models can resolve; lessons on when to use models and when not to; overview of freely available models; demonstration of some relevant commercial software; and hands on application of model output to case studies.
  • June – August 2014: Implementation of case study assignments by participants at their home institutions.
  • 18 – 22 August 2014: Training workshop at the Institute for Meteorological Training and Research, Kenya Meteorological Services, Nairobi, Kenya. The results from the project assignments undertaken by the students will be presented and reviewed
  • August – September 2014: Finalization and dissemination of case study reports.

 African Summer School 2014 (pdf)

Enhancing oceanography capacities on Western African countries

The goal of this initiative is to improve our understanding of the oceanographic features and processes in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystems (CCLME) regions and the Fishery Committee for Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF) regions. It also aims to increase the delivery of services to end users by making existing data accessible, by developing data and information products required for integrated ecosystem based management of the ocean and coastal areas of West Africa, and by enhancing oceanographic capacities in the region. The data utilized will include those collected by Spanish vessels in Western Africa and through IOC initiatives in the region.

The existing data from Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) surveys offer an exceptional opportunity to build time series of different parameters and re-analyse the data under this perspective to study the dynamics and trends of a multiplicity of variables that will produce new and valuable information on changes produced during the last 35 years in this region, going from climatic changes to shifts in species due to natural and human induced factors (e.g. transfer of invasive species). This opportunity is unique and will provide information for the reporting processes launched by the United Nations such as the World Ocean Assessment (WOA) as well as to attain the objectives of the world summit in Rio, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Finally this will be an excellent framework to enhance the creation of capacities in the region, making the Africa countries the main beneficiaries of this project by involving their experts in the analysis of data and also by organizing expert workshops as necessary.

The project will be based in three main pillars: 

  • Data mining, recovery and rescue: The area covered by the Canary Current LME and CECAF has been intensely sampled with different purposes during the last 30 years (fish stock assessment, time series, ecological studies, etc). However, the data generated by these projects are dispersed, in different data formats or banked in non-relational database structures, which jeopardizes the scientific investment, the legacy of the projects and the transmission of knowledge. The searching of data will include: Historical surveys, Sampling stations, Moorings, and Existing atlases and products.
  • Data Analyses: After selecting appropriate data of interest, the data-sets will be analyzed and converted into compatible forms and meaningful data products at regional scale adding value to raw data (e.g., compilation of climatologies and seasonal surfaces).  The aim of this second pillar is to develop data and information products required for integrated ecosystem based management of the ocean and coastal areas of West Africa and to increase the delivery of services to end users (e.g. supply of data and products to the United Nations WOA and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)).
  • Technical workshops: This is a genuine collaborative project of oceanographic research that needs to effectively capture the complexity of multinational and multidisciplinary participative approach. This goal will be achieved by the organization of 3 or 4 technical workshops which will not only be instrumental for the technical development of the project but will also contribute to the creation of capacities and new oceanographic networks in the region.

For additional information contact: Luis Valdes

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