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Home » National Network Committee


The IOSEA Conservation and Management Plan, in its Objective 6.4, calls upon Signatory States to “improve coordination among government and non-government sectors in the conservation of marine turtles and their habitat” and, in particular, to “encourage cooperation within and among government and non-government sectors, including through the development and/or strengthening of national networks”.

The rationale for improving communication and coordination among different sectors is self-evident. Government agencies need to be aware of each other’s policies and actions on the ground, especially if they may inadvertently be at cross-purposes. In many countries, non-governmental organisations are also carrying out important field activities to conserve marine turtles which counterparts in government ought to be aware of. One way of facilitating a more coordinated approach within a country is to establish a national committee that periodically brings together the relevant actors.

The reporting template designed for the IOSEA Online Reporting Facility requests Signatory States to report on their efforts to develop or strengthen such networks. Under Activity 4.3.2, Signatories are requested to “describe initiatives already undertaken or planned to involve and encourage the cooperation of Government institutions, NGOs and the private sector in marine turtle conservation programmes … [including] development of national networks, formation of steering committees, involvement in workshops, sponsorship of events etc.”

Recognising the importance of this issue, the Advisory Committee and Secretariat developed a short questionnaire to encourage Signatory States to report in more depth on the initiatives undertaken to date. The questionnaire was made available prior to the Fifth Meeting of the Signatory States (Bali, 2008), and numerous responses were received before and during that meeting. Completed questionnaires were received from 17 of the then 27 Signatory States, as follows: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Comoros, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Myanmar, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, and United States of America.

A similar exercise was repeated prior to the Sixth Meeting of Signatory States (Bangkok, January 2012). This generated two new questionnaire responses (from Papua New Guinea and United Kingdom), and updates of three existing questionnaires (for Myanmar, Philippines, and United States).

The following conclusions are drawn from the roughly two-thirds of the IOSEA membership for which information is available. About two-thirds of those reporting appear to have some form of coordination mechanism in place, ranging from formally constituted groups that have met periodically (e.g. Australia, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania) to ad hoc assemblages that serve a similar purpose even if a more formal status is still awaited (e.g. Indonesia, Madagascar, Thailand). The United States, though without a formal committee per se, nonetheless regularly undertakes wide-reaching consultations with concerned stakeholders. Comoros’ national committee appears to have a much wider remit than marine turtle conservation, which may or may not be disadvantageous in terms of its capacity to focus on pressing turtle issues.

For the handful of countries that appear to have fully-constituted networks or committees in place, it is worth pointing out a few qualifications. Based on the information currently available to the Secretariat, Australia’s National Turtle Recovery Group has not been convened for several years. Tanzania’s committee has faced difficulties holding meetings in recent years on account of financial constraints, but its function has apparently improved since broadening its remit to include dugong conservation issues. Although Bangladesh has – at least on paper – a well-thought out committee structure dating back to 2004, apparently this mechanism is not currently functional.

It would be helpful to receive updates from Kenya, Mauritius, and Seychelles whose committees were rather new or in a state of transition at the time of the last meeting. Bahrain, Cambodia, and United Arab Emirates indicated in 2008 that they had no such national arrangements in place; however the latter was said to be giving serious consideration to the creation of a national committee.

As for the 15 existing Signatories that have yet to return a questionnaire (Eritrea, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Maldives, Malaysia, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Viet Nam, Yemen), at least a few of these are thought to have committees in place, but few details about their practical functioning are known to the Secretariat.

Some positive conclusions and other observations arise from this cursory survey:

  • Where committees have been set up, either formally or as ad hoc arrangements, they seem to have done a good job at identifying the relevant actors within and outside traditional government structures. Initiatives to involve non-governmental organisations and indigenous/local community representatives are noteworthy.
     
  • Such committees/networks have served as important vehicles for progressing the development and further implementation of national action plans; and in some cases stimulating discussion of data sharing and critical conservation issues, such as bycatch mitigation. However tangible outcomes of these efforts are not readily apparent from the information provided to date.
     
  • Financial constraints – limiting both the frequency of meetings and potential for concrete follow-up actions – appear to have impeded the effectiveness of some national committees.
     
  • Active engagement of members which may have only a peripheral interest in the subject matter may be a challenge in some countries.

In general, while one can point to a number of positive attributes in many countries, it is difficult to cite any particular IOSEA Signatory State as having an exemplary, fully functional national committee or network that others might look to as a ‘model’ arrangement. It is hoped that this brief survey will encourage Signatory States to examine their own situation, with a view to establishing some form of representative committee where none exists thus far, or trying to improve upon or formalise existing arrangements. 
 

Details of National Networks / Committees, as provided in 2008, 2011 and 2014

 
 Country File (MS-Word)
Australia
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Cambodia
Comoros
Indonesia
France
Kenya
Madagascar
Mauritius
Myanmar
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Seychelles
Sri Lanka
Thailand
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
BLANK TEMPLATE FOR NEW ENTRIES (2014)


As for the 10 existing Signatories that have yet to return a questionnaire (Eritrea, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom and Viet Nam), it is probably safe to say that few, if any of these, have formal committees in place.  The three newest IOSEA members (France, Mozambique and Yemen) will be approached in due course to provide comparable information.  Indeed, Mozambique is already known to have an active sea turtle group which organised a productive national workshop in November 2006.

Some positive conclusions and other observations from this cursory survey:

  • Where committees have been set up, either formally or as ad hoc arrangements, they seem to have done a good job at identifying the relevant actors within and outside traditional government structures.  Initiatives to involve non-governmental organisations and indigenous/local community representatives are noteworthy.
     
  • Such committees have served as important vehicles for progressing the development and further implementation of national action plans; and in some cases stimulating discussion of data sharing and critical conservation issues, such as bycatch mitigation.  However tangible outcomes of these efforts are not readily apparent from the information provided to date.
     
  • Financial constraints -- limiting both the frequency of meetings and potential for concrete follow-up actions -- appear to have impeded the effectiveness of some national committees.
     
  • Active engagement of members which may have only a peripheral interest in the subject matter may be a challenge in some countries.

In general, while one can point to a number of positive attributes in many countries, it is difficult to cite any particular IOSEA Signatory State as having an exemplary, fully functional national committee or network that others might look to as a ‘model’ arrangement.  It is hoped that this brief survey will encourage Signatory States to examine their own situation, with a view to establishing some form of representative committee where none exists thus far, or trying to improve upon or formalise existing arrangements. 

IOSEA Focal Points who would like to update their National Network / Committee details or provide information for the first time are invited to contact the Secretariat.
 

   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
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