From 29 June-1 July, Casablanca, Morocco was the venue for the annual meetings of the North and West Africa and West Africa Regional SAR Committees.
The three days of meetings provided an opportunity for the countries involved to discuss the developments since the 2016 meeting. Mr Mohammed Drissi of Morocco, chairman of the North and West Committee and coordinator of the IMRF Global SAR Development (GSD) project in Africa, provided an overview of the regional achievements 2015-2016 with 10 Regional SAR Development Meetings, 19 SAR Training courses and 210 people trained.
"We have managed to continue the momentum of SAR training and Regional meetings provided through the support of the IMRF and the IMO Technical Cooperation Committee (IMO TCC). We have developed African SAR trainers, run regional SAR exercises (SAREX) and most importantly have extended the development activity to all 5 African Regions” said Mr Drissi. “We have also heard today of the work being done by the 14 countries attending this meeting to improve their SAR coordination structures and capabilities. We are seeing more countries establishing SAR committees and adopting national SAR Plans which augurs well for the future of Africa SAR services."
As well as the meetings of the two regional committees, two workshop sessions were held by the IMRF. Jonas Olsen, the Chief Strategy Officer with Orolia/McMurdo, led discussions on the regional challenge of keeping the small scale and artisanal fishermen safe. Africa fishing fleet is an estimated 679,000 with more than 95% of these boats under 23 metre.
One of the ways to progress is to move away from a pure safety solution and align it with the national security and economic interests. These could then be linked with economic and development opportunities such as providing fishers with better information at sea and access to auctioning for their catch. We will take a closer look in a future edition of LIFE LINE.
“The IMRF GSD Project here in Africa has real momentum.”
"The IMRF GSD Project here in Africa has real momentum," says IMRF CEO Bruce Reid. "The past 3 days have demonstrated the value of having a plan that is a combination of regular meetings to review progress, regional trainings developing the core skills and workshops to discuss common challenges. We are grateful to the project support we receive from the IMO TCC, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, The TK Foundation and local sponsors. If you or your organisation would like to be involved in this project, please get in touch with Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Reports, copies of the presentations from the meetings and the white paper on Artisanal Fishing Management by Jonas Olsen can be found on-line at www.imrfafrica.org.