The 1st International Festival of Sciences and Arts – Moroni, Comoros
All roads led to Moroni, Comoros for the inaugural International Festival of Sciences and Arts, centred around the Oceans. The event ran between September 18 and September 21, 2023, and it was hosted by the Centre National de Documentation et de Recherche Scientifique (CNDRS), in partnership with the RPOC (French acronyms for Strengthening Ocean Protection in Comoros) project, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Management Network – WIOMPAN, the French Embassy in the Union of Comoros, the Comorian government and the European Union. CORDIO East Africa, WildOceans, and Oceans 5 funded the four-day celebration of “the sea as the future of the Indian Ocean in the Comoros archipelago”.
Through a mix of presentations, round-table discussions, exhibitions and site visits, the Oceans Festival fostered dialogue around Blue Economy, marine biodiversity conservation, coastal erosion, natural resilience, and climate change resilience and adaptation.
Scenes from the event
CORDIO researcher Joshua Rambahiniarison presented studies conducted through R-POC, including a pilot shark study in Mwali, and the results of coral reef monitoring conducted in the National Parks of Mitsamiouli-Ndroude and Coelacanth. He also presented research on mesophotic reefs in Comoros, conducted in 2018 and funded by CEPF. This latter investigation informed the National Report of the list of reef fish species in Comoros, launched during the festival and authored by CORDIO, WILDTRUST, colleagues from SAIAB, the University of Oxford/Nekton and the University of Comoros. The report lists 259 reef fish species from 49 families recorded to depths up to 180m. It has been shared freely here together with its related data and can also be accessed via the QR code inset.
With over 160 attendees from around the world, the first International Festival of Sciences and Arts was a resounding success. Dr. Jean Harris, Executive Director and Strategic Leader of WildOceansSA, closed the event with commendations to Comoros for its great leadership and commitment to the health of the oceans. She pointed out that the Union of Comoros was already among 35 African signatories to the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC N&P). The HAC N&P is an intergovernmental group of more than 115 countries committed to effectively conserving and managing at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030, in line with Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Framework.