Eastern Africa

International actors and agreements in the region

See Global action and Global actors.

UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). ••>

UNEP Regional Office for Africa (ROA). ••>

UNEP Regional Seas Programme. ••>

UNEP Global programme of action for the protection of the marine environment from land-based activities (UNEP GPA). ••>

International Coral Reef Initiative and other organizations and networks on the threats to coral reefs.

Small Island Developing States Network (SIDSnet). ••>

Regional conventions, agreements, action plans and actors

Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region (Nairobi Convention). ••>

Indian Ocean MoU on Port State Control. ••>

Southern and East African Waste Management Network (SEA WASTE). Serves as a platform for information exchange and cooperation on pollution issues that impact on all aquatic environments in Southern and East Africa. Represents an informal forum for dialogue and capacity-building in waste management research, policy development and implementation and wider public education. Presently constitutes members from Botswana, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe - but involvement is not restricted to these areas.

GEF International Waters Projects. ••>

African Development Bank. ••>

Secretariat for Eastern African Coastal Area Management (SEACAM). ••>

World Bank-GEF-Biodiversity: Biodiversity Conservation and Marine Pollution Abatement, Seychelles. The marine pollution component of the project covers the analysis of the steps needed to comply with MARPOL standards for shipwaste treatment and actions required to control pollution from commercial shipping, fishing and leisure craft.

World Bank–GEF: Programme régional de Lutte contre les Déversements d'Hydrocarbures (Western Indian Ocean Islands Oil Spill Contingency Planning). The project financed by World Bank/GEF includes the Comores, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Madagascar, and Reunion. Co-ordinated by a Programme Management Unit located at the Commission de l'Océan Indien (Indian Ocean Commission).

National action


The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), under the Kenya Ports Authority Act, has theƒ responsibility for controlling pollution in the territorial waters of Kenya. In fulfilment of this responsibility, the KPA, together with representatives of the oil industry, the oil refinery, the shipping industry and bunkering services, has set up the National Oil Spill Response Committee (NOSRC) which has developed a National Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan.

South Africa

Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Marine and Aquatic Pollution Control.

Jolly Rubino oil spill, 2002: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on the oil spill cleanup.

Treasure oil spill, 2000: University of Cape Town, Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences: A 'Treasure' story (part of "The Treasure oil spill: Effects on the wildlife of Table Bay and particularly on the endangered African Penguin".) See also IBRRC: Treasure Spill Report. ••• Dpt of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on the oil spill cleanup.

Regional reports on the state of the marine and coastal environment

UNEP Regional Seas: "Oil is a major pollution threat to coastal ecosystems, owing to the heavy use of the tanker route along the East African coast. On any given day there are hundreds of tankers in the Region, many of them Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). Slicks are brought in from spills in the open ocean by coastal currents, while operational discharges from ships and refineries add to the load".

UNEP: Africa Environmental Outlook: Pollution of Eastern Africa's coastal and marine environment: "The coastal waters of the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean are the major sea routes for large petroleum and oil tankers supplying the world with products from the Middle East. Major shipping routes run close to the coral reefs near the port of Djibouti and Port Sudan and ships often discharge oily wastes and sewage. Ships also cause physical damage to the reefs when poor navigation brings them into collision with the reefs. Longshore currents and winds in the Western Indian Ocean are instrumental in the horizontal distribution and spread of pollutants, particularly in bringing oil slicks from the open sea (beyond the EEZ limit) into the coastal waters. In addition to the elevated risk of high-impact oil spills, frequent transport operations also contribute to oil pollution—oil tankers often empty ballast and wash engines on the high seas and residues of degraded oil are consolidated and washed ashore by onshore winds, currents and waves. Tar balls litter beaches with deleterious effects on wildlife and on humans that use the beaches. Soluble PCBs from these products poison marine life and accumulate in the food web, causing physiological disorders in top predators."

UNEP: Africa Environmental Outlook: Pollution of Western Indian Ocean Islands coastal and marine environment: "The increasing use of motorized vessels rather than human or sail-power for fishing and pleasure craft is increasing pressure on the environment by causing oil slicks and by direct physical damage from boat propellers. There is also a high risk of major oil spills, given that 30 per cent of all oil exports from the Near East pass through the sub-region. This high level of transport traffic also exposes the marine and coastal environments to oil pollution through discharge of ballast water and oil leaks."

UNEP GPA: Assessment of Land-based Sources and Activities Affecting the Marine, Coastal and Associated Freshwater Environment in the Eastern African Region.

UNEP Regional Seas: Eastern Africa: The environment: Threats. Pollution.

UNECA: State of the Environment in Africa

UNEP: Global Environment Outlook 3 (GEO3). Coastal and marine areas.

University of Rhode Island: Large Marine Ecosystems (LME): The region includes the Agulhas Current and the Somalia Coastal Current

National state of the environment reports

South Africa

UNEP GRID: State of the environment – South Africa: "Pressures associated with shipping include operational and major oil spills and the discharge of ballast water and waste from vessels. Oil spills and discharge of ballast water lower marine water quality making it less suitable for human as well as marine ecosystem functions, particularly around commercial ports. Driving forces: South Africa is situated on one of the world's busiest ship transport routes, particularly for the transport of crude oil from the Middle East to Europe and the Americas. Over 4,000 ships pass the Cape of Good Hope every year, and R4.2 billion in revenue is generated every year by transporting cargo through South African ports. Shipping which is routed around the Cape is exposed to extremes of weather and sea conditions. This greatly increases the risk of major marine pollution incidents, particularly from oil tankers, but also from those with more lethal cargoes such as nuclear waste, which, should a shipping disaster occur could have devastating consequences for human coastal communities, and not just marine life and the dependent economic activities".

Private sector and NGOs actors and initiatives

Oilwatch. ••>

International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF). ••>

International Directory of Oil Spill Cleanup Contractors and Response Organisations. ••>

International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA). ••>

The Treasure, afloat, but only a few hours before she sank. Photo courtesy of © Avian Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, and newspaper Cape Time. (The ADU thanks Melanie Gosling and Bennie Gool of the Cape Times, one of Cape Town's leading daily newspapers, for sending them this picture and allowing us to include it on the web site on the Treasure oil spill.) The drawing is also published courtesy of ©ADU, University of Cape Town.