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ODINAFRICA -IV: Objectives

The previous phases of the projects has enabled the data centers to develop skills for manipulation of data and preparation of data  and information products, and develop infrastructure for archival, analysis and dissemination of the data and information products. Stengthening the NODCs capacities by ensuring a sustained data streaming is one of the objectives of this project. This will enable the NODCs to fully play their role as focal points for marine data and information at national level and also to be a potential partener in any regional or global data management initiative.

The need for multi-sectoral data (not just oceanographic observations but also data concerning geology, hydrology, atmosphere, the socio-economic environment and biodiversity) was also exposed during the development of the “African Marine Atlas”. Whereas the previous phases of ODINAFRICA involved mainly one institution (the institution that hosted the National Oceanographic Data Centre and Marine Information Centre, or where such facilities would be created through the Project), addressing the needs mentioned above will require a more multisectoral approach that involves many stakeholders who collect data.  This is a fundamental difference between the previous phases of ODINAFRICA and Phase 4.

The third challenge relates to the ability to share data. The IODE NODC network is evolving towards distributed database systems exemplified by e.g. the IODE OceanDataPortal ( ). This will facilitate seamless access to a wide range of collections and inventories of marine data and services and allow for the discovery, evaluation and access to data via web services. For the African NODCs to become full participants in the IODE of the future they will need the ability to “plug-in” into be able to use and be providers to these new systems.

The Goals of ODINAFRICA-IV are consistent with the general goals of the previous ODINAFRICA phases but will add to these the elements described above.

The overall goal of ODINAFRICA-IV is to promote the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources, as well as reducing the risks of ocean related hazards, based on sound scientific knowledge. This will be achieved by strengthening the pan African network of NODCs, and marine related institutions, as a sustained mechanism for application of data, information and products in marine and coastal management in Africa.

Project Proposal development process

The fifth meeting of the ODINADFRICA Project Steering Committee (PSC) in November 2007 commenced the process for the design of a project to build on the achievements of ODINAFRICA-III, addressing the challenges identified in the Evaluation Report, and based on priorities identified at several regional fora, including the ODINAFRICA Project Seminar of April 2006. Details of the PSC discussions were circulated to the ODINAFRICA national contacts and a follow-up questionnaire survey of stakeholders was commissioned in early 2008 in order to obtain broad inputs into the design of ODINAFRICA IV. The questionnaire was sent to the national project coordinators, the national coordinators for all the work packages, and national and regional experts. In total, 63 Respondents from 23 Africa countries and several regional organisations completed the questionnaire.

The results of the Questionnaire are synthesised into the document “Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa – Results from Questionnaire of Project Participants”. In summary, the responses provided detailed information on the status of the NODC and the ODINAFRICA network and the needs and requirements for future phases of ODINAFRICA, from the diverse perspectives of the respondents. It was not possible to validate the completed questionnaire through interviews, and the respondents did not represent all stakeholder groups. However, the questionnaire was a successful step to ensure that the design of ODINAFRICA IV was participatory and consultative.

The ODINAFRICA-IV planning workshop, bringing together a group of technical experts involved in the ODINAFRICA network, but mostly independent of NODCs was held in April 2008. The planning workshop: (i) Commented on the recommendations and findings of FUST and the PSC meeting reports; (ii) Validated, where appropriate, the results of the questionnaire survey; (iii) Provided general comments and recommendations for the structure, activities and management approach to ODINAFRICA IV; and (iv) Provided a series of specific recommendations for the Goal, Objective, Work Packages and coordination of ODINAFRICA IV. These recommendations are summarised in the document “ODINAFRICA IV - Main Components and Guiding Principles”.

“ODINAFRICA IV - Main Components and Guiding Principles” was circulated to all PSC members for their validation, feedback and comments. Based on the feedback of PSC members, and all the above-described steps, a draft project design document was prepared, covering all major aspects of ODINAFRICA IV. The document was submitted for discussion and review at the ODINAFRICA Planning and Review workshop held in Mombasa, Kenya, in July 2008. Subsequently a draft project document was prepared on the basis of discussions and recommendations from the workshop and agreed on by members of the drafting team before circulation to the ODINAFRICA national contacts and Heads of institutions for comment and endorsement.

In light of the above, the process to develop ODINAFRICA IV was comprehensive, participatory and technically sound.

Comtinue to ODINAFRICA-IV "Expected outcomes and deliverables"