Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, hosted from 23rd to 25th September 2014, the third meeting of the Work Group on Biodiversity Habitat and Water Quality for the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME). It was organized with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Convention Abidjan. The results of studies that were ordered to consultants have been presented and recommendations were made including the need to draw the authorities' attention to the effective implementation of policies as well as the enforcement of legal measures for the conservation of biodiversity in seven countries.
The 3rd meeting of the Work Group on Biodiversity Habitat and Water Quality for the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project (CCLME) has recently ended in Casablanca. The experts concluded the meeting with important recommendations. Participants expressed the urgent need to draw the attention of public authorities on the effective implementation of policies and the enforcement of legal measures for the conservation of biodiversity, including in the recommendations of the study on 'the actual level of political and legal measures to protect biodiversity, habitat and water quality in the CCLME area 'the need for the development and implementation of fisheries management plans as shared resources; promote generalization of strategic Environmental Assessments at regional level.
Participating countries also worked to contribute to the ongoing study conducted by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) on 'the development of a geo-referenced database and map production on habitats and biodiversity, 'by providing relevant information (including the location of land-based sources); integrated into the database information from other studies of component 3 CCLME (assessment of the state of biodiversity, but also to develop an application to allow access to the data on biodiversity (taxa / species country or geographic area).
It was also agreed that CCLME must quickly decide on which server to house the GIS database.
For the selection of staff to participate in the Geographic Information System (GIS) training, the Work Group recommended between 1-2 people per country with a GIS tools background, who should be designate through the group members and another set of 1-2 CCLME administrators and from the Abidjan Convention.
On the study on 'Assessment of the state of marine biodiversity in the CCLME region', the working group recalled the need to harmonize the data compiled in this study with those available for ADT CCLME;
An update of the data on the estimate total area of mangroves in different countries has also been provided. In this regards, CCLME should rely on spatial tool developed together with WCMC. In as much as possible, participants recommended that the study on "Evaluation of land-based activities that can be sources of marine pollution and coastal countries CCLME' be used to make forecasts in the medium and long term trends of pollution.
In addition, the work group considers that the sources of marine pollution (offshore hydrocarbon, cadmium ...) deserve to be considered as a priority due to their cross-border nature and the nature of the CCLME maritime space.
With regard to the study on 'Emergency Plan and the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance', it is requested that the "prevention" aspect be further incorporated in the ToR of the sub regional Centre to make it play a role in the implementation of prevention activities in the sub-region, among other findings.
In concluding the regional meeting of the Work Group on Biodiversity Habitat and Water Quality, the CCLME coordinator, Birane Sambe and the regional coordinator of the Abidjan Convention, Abou Bamba, thanked all those who made possible the trip to Casablanca before calling the concerned countries to be decisive in protecting the marine ecosystem of the region. After the closing ceremony, it was decided that the next GIS training will be held in November 2014 in Dakar and Casablanca. CCLME consists of seven countries (Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal) with an estimate population of 64.5 million. It covers about 7132 km of coast. With an estimated 12,000 biodiversity species.