The COBIA initiative aims to improve the management of environmental risks related to the offshore oil and gas industry in West Africa, mainly in four countries: Guinea-Bissau-Mauritania-Senegal-Sierra-Léone. COBIA addresses different challenges (environmental, social, economic and others) of the offshore extractive industry and contributes to the creation of an offshore community within the region. Each actor, public and private, concerned by the challenges of the offshore industry is thus mobilized to take part in the implementation of the project and contribute to the reduction of environmental risks.

More specifically, the COBIA initiative has developed four “Strategies”, each implemented by a different partner, to achieve this objective of protecting marine biodiversity. These Strategies cover the entire exploration and exploitation process and seek to understand the sector as a whole and in the multiplicity of its impacts. To this end, the COBIA initiative focuses on :

  1. Strengthening scientific knowledge and environmental monitoring
    >> The improvement and sharing of scientific data is an essential condition for managing the environmental risks associated with offshore activities;
    Coordinated by BirdLife International
  2. Strengthening management and awareness capacities
    >> The complexity of the extractive industry requires that the actors concerned (national and regional administrations, NGOs, researchers, networks of parliamentarians, etc.) be given the necessary tools to take part in the development and supervision of offshore activities. Awareness-raising will make it possible to act beforehand and initiate discussions on offshore in West Africa;
    Coordinated by the Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Zone in West Africa (PRCM)
  3. The development/strengthening of response plans in the event of marine oil pollution
    >> This strategy will ensure that rapid and effective responses to oil pollution exist;
    Coordinated by the Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention
  4. Strengthening the regulation and monitoring of the offshore extractive activity
    >> Particular attention will be paid both to the legal framework of the offshore industry (implementation of relevant international and regional conventions, development of national standards, etc.) and to the development of a CSR-type approach.
    Coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)


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