For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions strongly challenged the implementation of the GI WACAF work program and brought the GI WACAF Secretariat to innovate and strategically rethink the way the Project supports the region. Since March 2020, the Project’s way to operate is based on three main pillars, and has been made possible with the constant and constructive support from the Project’s members and stakeholders:
- Remote assistance on technical and policy aspects;
- Online training; and
- Networking and partnership.
Even if the GI WACAF Secretariat hopes to be back as soon as possible in the region and deliver face-to-face activities again, this reorganisation has allowed for the continuation of the journey towards better oil spill preparedness and response capacities in the region.
However, the GI WACAF Secretariat has been able to adapt to this situation and several online activities were implemented, such as a workshop on liability and compensation in case of oil spill pollution with The Gambia, and a joint industry-government national IMS 300 training and exercise with Namibia. Furthermore, a second webinar series on oil spill preparedness and response was launched in April and several countries benefited from remote reviews of their draft sensitivity maps or National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP).
At the same time, the Project continued to take part in external initiatives dedicated to oil spill preparedness and response in the region. Recognized as a key regional player, the GI WACAF Project was contacted by the PRCM (Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Area in West Africa) to contribute to a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the environmental management of offshore oil and gas activities and the launch of phase 2 of the COBIA initiative.
The 2021 Mid-year review is available in the "Publications" section of the GI WACAF website.