FEBRUARY 15, 2023

IOE in a sensitivity mapping workshop in Kenya

IOE in a sensitivity mapping workshop in Kenya

Ms. Rawan Al Jamal, Research Assistant at the Marine and Coastal Resources Program at the Institute of the Environment at the University of Balamand (MCR-IOE-UOB) in Lebanon, and through the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in collaboration with the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA), participated in the Sensitivity Mapping Workshop that was held in January in Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP-WCMC initiated a process to develop a shared approach that could be adopted across all partner countries to create environmental sensitivity atlases. The Mapping Environmentally Sensitive Assets, MESA 3.0, allows the identification of critical or sensitive marine and terrestrial assests towards a pre-defined threat, making it suitable for a range of environmental activities at the project and strategic levels like oil spill preparedness and response, and spatial planning.

Ms. Rawan Al Jamal represented the IOE-UOB along several national and international institutions such as the INVEMAR- Institute for Marine and Coastal Research-Columbia, National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA)-Columbia, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)-Uganda, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)-Uganda, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Ghana, National Directorate of Environment (DINAB)-Mozambique, Mozambique Maritime Authority (INAMAR)-Mozambique, Oceanographic Institute of Mozambique (InOM) – Mozambique and the National Scientific Research Center (CNRS)-Lebanon amongst others.

The workshop focused on introducing the MESA 3.0 tool and the practical application of data formatting, processing and visualization of the test data provided by Norkart in Norway in order to familiarize the participants with the standardized tool. Participants were also given the opportunity to process their own environmental data to produce a prototype environmental sensitivity atlas for each partner country. Feedback was then collected on the suitability of this approach in order to fine-tune MESA 3.0 to better meet country objectives. This was achieved through group activities where participants learned how to rank sensitive areas, the importance of leadership, and the significance and interconnection between political will, mandates, institutions and resources.

This workshop increased the capacity of the IOE-UOB to determine the impact of a specific environmental or anthropogenic threat on a set of important assets (environmental and otherwise) allowing better prevention, preparation, mitigation and remediation measures.