“Be epitome of energetic, young female scientist intent on making professional wave in ocean governance“
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
“Being part of small contingent of female Environment and Maritime subject matter experts in Kenya, the EAC and COMESA economic region. I hope to be a role model in empowering Africans to take custodianship our African coastline as well as advocate improved stakeholder engagement with our global stakeholders.”
What would you change about how women are perceived in science and ocean governance careers?
“To steer women in their archaic patriarchal view of how women can and must add value to the empirical urgency for young, vibrant female scientists to become part of the dialogue of oceans conservation. I strongly advocate the importance to inculcate ocean knowledge and need for protection our African Maritime Domain amongst young females at grass root level in land-locked and littoral states. The resilience of communities depends on the socio-economic stability and growth that our African coastal areas possess if it is taken care of and managed sustainably.”
Who has inspired you in your career?
“My professional inspiration is intricately intertwined with my personal inspiration. I have been fortunate to be inspired and be influenced by strong female mentors. The female leaders includes people such as Rachel Carson and Elisabeth Mann Borgese, who are not only scientists but great environmental advocates in support of women in science, with specific interest in protection and sustainable use of marine resources. Specific homage needs to be paid to my parents and siblings, who have taught me to stay focused and goal oriented no matter the obstacles that comes my way. I also need to make mention of my Supervisor and colleagues who continue to be committed to hard work. My social network of friends also needs to be thanked for their support.”
What is your dream research project? Where would you work and with whom?
“Participate with group of scientists in a project to regulate ocean mining by developing Implementing Regional Instruments for protecting the seabed marine environment and with a focus on the Areas of Particular Environmental Interest (APEIA) as well as evaluating strategy for conservation of the biodiversity from deep sea mining. I would wish to work with UN specialized agency or other related agency in field Environment, Maritime, Safety and Research. Such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Integrated Seabed Mining (ISA) and Research partnership with World Maritime University (WMU)”
What would you say to your fifteen-year-old self about your career choices?
“My career choice is to leave behind a legacy. This has been career choice of passion and willingness to gain experience and insights to ocean conservation. It’s a reminder that things will come to you, when you work hard, constantly moving from one challenge to another without loss of enthusiasm and taking risk for the world that is constantly changing. My principles are based on believing in myself and showing humility and dedication.”
What secret talent do you have?
“Nature photographer; Mentoring; Travelling, Networking and Dancing.”
What do you miss most about the pre-Covid19 world?
“Life has really changed and there is only one way to live and it is now. I miss personal networking with scientists around the world, from diverse communities, helping each other to explore the ocean frontiers by means of our collective knowledge, sharing life experiences and support each other in our respective career paths driven by empirical curiosity. I miss barbecues and bonfires with friends, large community events, meeting up for coffee or drinks, sparking up conversations with acquaintances and most importantly, holding hands as sign of respect, care & acknowledgement of their presence.”
What is your quote to live by?
“Science can be immensely rewarding for those who have passion to search knowledge and find solution to applied problem. Therefore, remain focused; keep your prioritize clear, be persistent, network to expand your horizon”
Mercy Amai is an Environmental and Maritime Law subject matter expert with special interest in Law of Sea, Maritime Security, Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) and Blue economy. She has diverse experience in environmental assessments, coastal marine resources conservation and monitoring, capacity building and stakeholder mobilization. Her research interest relates to Maritime Jurisdictional aspect of Law of the Sea, Delineation of the limits to Maritime Boundaries; Determination of Maritime Baseline in an era of Sea Level Rise; Governance of Seabed Mining & Sustainable Marine Extractive Resources; Climate Change and Deepwater Marine Ecosystems Management.
Mercy heads management, operations of Coastal Marine and Freshwater Department, Coast Region, In National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Her role includes advising key agencies on policy and implementing environmental regulations. She is involved in formulating national environmental and marine regulation & strategies including: Blue Economy Strategy; Maritime Disaster Risk Management Framework; Coastal Counties Marine Spatial Plan (MSP); Counties Beach Management Bill.
She representing the institution in national and international forums and coordinated technical trainings. It also includes Joint Interagency operation. She has spearheaded implementation of the ban of plastic bags. She is involved in international Marine Litter Data Collection with UNEP. She is involved in WIOSAP Project, as environmental coordinator, focusing on Improving Mtwapa Creek water quality and the ICZM WIOSAP project. She is an MSP Working Group member in WIOGEN. Her research papers have been presented in various international conferences. She has published two papers:
- “Rising sea level, Receding Boundaries and Freezing Baseline in a Warming Climate.”
- “Promotion of efficacy in the regulation of Noise pollution in Kenya through devolution and public participation.”
Mercy is a PhD. Candidate in Environmental Governance and Management from University of Nairobi, and holds M.A in Environmental Law from University of Nairobi. Specialty in International Law of Maritime from Gothenburg University, Sweden and BSc. Environmental Science, from Kabarak University, Kenya.