Assessment of the status of MCS systems for conservation and protection of aquatic biodiversity in shared African marine ecosystems

African Union (AU)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪


The Africa Blue Economy Strategy was endorsed at the highest political level of the continent. The Strategy incorporates key critical vectors for promoting blue economy development of the continent, including fisheries, aquaculture and ecosystem conservation; shipping, maritime safety and trade; climate change, environmental sustainability and ecotourism; sustainable energy and extractive mineral resources; governance, institutions and job creation.

The objective of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) is to guide the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that becomes a significant contributor to continental transformation and growth, through advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, environmental sustainability, marine ecosystem utilization, management and conservation and carbon sequestration, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport, the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces, and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other marine resources.

  1. The Africa Blue Economy Strategy is consolidated based on the following five thematic technical areas:
  2. Fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and sustainable aquatic ecosystems;
  3. Shipping/transportation, trade, ports, maritime security, safety and enforcement;
  4. Coastal and maritime tourism, climate change, resilience, marine ecosystem, environment, infrastructure;
  5. Sustainable energy and mineral resources and innovative industries; and,
  6. Policies, institutional and governance, employment, job creation and poverty eradication, innovative financing.

The African continent is adjacent to highly productive marine ecosystems that include the seven African Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) viz., Agulhas Current LME, Beguile Current LME, Guinea Current LME, Canary current LME, Mediterranean Sea LME, Red Sea LME and Somali Current LME. The seas, oceans, lakes and rivers inhabit significant number of biodiversity and the ecosystems provide sources of livelihoods, food security and wealth. The African marine ecosystems inhabit living and non-living resources; however the unsustainable exploitation of these resources are threatening the biodiversity, resources and environmental sustainability. Several factors are threatening aquatic biodiversity in Africa aquatic ecosystems. These include overexploitation of living species, pollutions from several sources (land-based municipal and agricultural activities), These include overexploitation of living species, pollutions from several sources (land-based municipal and agricultural activities), dumping of toxic wastes, mining activities, gas exploration, tourism development etc. . Consequently, important aquatic resources are becoming increasingly susceptible to both natural and artificial environmental changes. Thus, conservation strategies to protect and conserve aquatic life are necessary to maintain the balance of nature and support the availability of resources for future generations.
Therefore, AU-IBAR, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is implementing a 3-year project on “Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy’ whose overall objective is to enhance the policy environment, regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities of AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities to sustainably utilize and conserve aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. Ratify and/or align relevant international/regional instruments related to blue economy themes (with specific reference to protecting and conserving biodiversity)
  2. Optimizing conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity while minimizing conflicts among blue economy sub-themes
  3. Strengthening measures for mitigating the negative impacts of coastal and marine tourism, oil, gas, deep sea mining and climate change on aquatic biodiversity and environment.
  4. Strengthening gender inclusivity in aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management


The IUU (Unreported, Unregulated and Unreported) fishing activities in Africa are major concerns with regards to sustainability of aquatic biodiversity that include unauthorized fishing in closed areas/seasons, illegal fishing ,fishing with forged and fraudulent licenses or vessel registrations, unreported and misreported catches, fishing Threatened, Endangered and Protected (TEP) species, dumping of toxic waters, ecosystems and environmental degradation, pollution etc.  Africa’s annual share of the global IUU catch has recently been estimated at 4.7 million tons of fish at a conservatively estimated value of $10 billion’s. Weak governance is a major factor responsible of IUU fishing in coastal states. 

Weak MCS systems have contributed to increased incidences of unsustainable practices and reduction in aquatic biodiversity in African large marine ecosystems and inland waters. In most cases the current transboundary MCS systems are weak and require institutional strengthening and capacity development. There is a therefore a need to conduct assessment of MCS systems to identify national and regional priorities and capacities towards providing supporting for strengthen comprehensive regional MBS systems. 

There are existing regional arrangements for regional management and conservation of aquatic biodiversity; these include specialized regional institutions (Regional fisheries organizations, water basin commissions, regional seas conventions).  There are also existing regional initiatives on regional MCS systems. In most cases, the focus is on combating IUU fishing. There are however challenges in terms of effectiveness of these regional MCS arrangements, weak governments by AU member states and hence poor financing of these regional initiatives. Besides the traditional of MCS systems of protecting fish resources, there is also need to strengthen the capacity of these existing initiatives and expand their scope to cover the conservation and protection of other aquatic biodiversity ‘hot spots’ including protecting MPAs, Coral reefs, environmental pollution  etc.. 


The overall objective of this consultancy is to conduct assessment of the status of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance systems (MCS) marine ecosystems at national and regional levels with the aim of establishing and /or strengthening a transboundary MCS system in identified shared marine ecosystem to enhance conservation and protection of aquatic biodiversity 


  1. Briefing with relevant AU-IBAR staff to agree on expectations and provide clarity on any outstanding issues. 
  2. Prepare inception report within 5 days of signature to the contract outlining methodology, approach  and proposed  locations for visit
  3. To consult Regional Economy Communities, specialized regional institutions, other relevant stakeholders
  4. To source relevant information, data, literatures and documentations  on existing or ongoing transboudary MCS initiatives in shared marine ecosystems at regional levels
  5. Conduct assessment of status of selected regional  initiatives on MCS systems to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to effective conservation and protection of aquatic biodiversity in shared marine ecosystems  
  6. Identify technical gaps or requirements, institutional challenges for providing support to institutional and technical capacity strengthening  of ongoing regional MCS systems in shared marine ecosystems for effective establishment, functioning or operationalization
  7. Develop proposals for expanding the scope of regional initiatives to cover biodiversity ‘hotspots, including MPAs, Coral reefs, pollution detection, monitoring, response and abatement
  8. Based on your findings develop appropriate recommendations on requirements and gaps to provide support for strengthening regional MCS initiatives in identified transboundary marine ecosystems.
  9. Develop comprehensive report at the end of assignment


The successful candidate should have an advanced degree in disciplines related to conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, including marine environmental protection, aquatic conservation sciences or fisheries management. A PhD degree will be added advantage


General Experience

  1. Familiarization with national institutions with mandates in fisheries management, aquaculture development, aquatic biodiversity protection and  environment management
  2. Familiarization with functions of regional economic communities  and  specialized regional institutions with mandates in fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic biodiversity and environmental protection
  3. Knowledge and experience of Africa large marine ecosystems, governance systems, transboundary issues, challenges and opportunities

Specific Experience

  1. Demonstrated knowledge of regional arrangements or initiatives on MCS systems in Africa 
  2. Evidence of experience on strengthening MCS systems for effective combat of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU)  fishing and conservation of aquatic biodiversity in Africa marine ecosystems
  3. Proven record of familiarization of critical motivating factors for IUU fishing in Africa marine ecosystems
  4. Experience of knowledge n technical measures on protecting and conserving aquatic biodiversity, critical biodiversity hotspots and ecosystems
  5. Evidence   of conducting related  institutional assessments to support institutional capacity building

Other Essential Skills and Experience

  1. Diplomacy and good interactive  skills necessary for dealing with senior officials in Government, RECs, other regional organizations, and donor/development organizations in Africa;
  2. Good networking skills and ability to maintain positive and constructive
  3. Very strong writing, analytical and communication skills are necessary.
  4. Proficiency in at least 2 AU languages


  1. Inception report prepared outlining methodology and approach
  2. Institutional assessments of regional initiatives on transboundary MCS systems conducted in shared marine ecosystems
  3. Mechanisms developed for strengthening the capacity and expanding the mandates of identified regional MCS Systems (Centres or Coordinating Units) in shared marine ecosystems
  4. Regional initiatives on  MCS systems identified and prioritized for institutional and capacity strengthening 
  5. Gaps identified for support to the establishment and/or strengthening regional MCS systems in marine ecosystems (The required support needed for effective operationalization of the identified regional MCS systems in shared marine ecosystems are clearly outlined and itemized). 
  6. Comprehensive report of the consultancy developed and approved

Criteria for Scores: 

CriteriaScores (%)
General Experience20
Specific Experience45
Other skills10
Proficiency in AU languages (at least  in 2)5

Gender Mainstreaming:

The AU Commission is an equal opportunity employer and qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply.  

Duty stations: 

The consultants will be stationed in Nairobi with travel on specific assignments agreed with the AU-IBAR Management.  


The duration of this assignment is 45 calendar days but can be accomplished within 60 days from the date of signature of the contract.


The professional fee for this consultancy is USD 13500. Costs related to an approved travel for this assignment will be the responsibility of AU-IBAR. 
Expenses for missions will be covered separately in accordance with the applicable African Union Commission rules and regulations.

Supervision and reporting 

The candidate will be under the direct supervision of the project team leader with oversight supervision by the Director of AU-IBAR. The team leader will have the responsibility of approval of reports

Evaluation Criteria: 

The applications will be evaluated on the basis of the relevant technical qualifications, experience and competence of the candidates. 
 Submission of Applications

The deadline for submission of proposals is 02nd March 2022, 15.00 hours, Nairobi Local Time. 
The address for submission of applications is: Applications including detailed curriculum vitae (CV) should be submitted through email to: [email protected]

Documents forming part of this application:

  • Terms of reference
  • Declaration on exclusion criteria
  • Data protection and privacy statement 

Documents to be submitted with the application

  • Technical proposal including references of previous relevant work experience
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Identification documents e.g. passport with relevant biodata pages
  • Tax status/registration documents
  • Signed declaration on exclusion criteria
AU-IBAR declaration form (32.5 KB)32.5 KB
AU-IBAR Personal Data Protection and Privacy Statement (149.08 KB)149.08 KB
Terms of references(English verdion) (177.7 KB)177.7 KB

Closing Date: Wednesday, 2 March, 2022





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development