The East Coast of Africa including the shorelines of Mozambique contain some of the most biodiverse marine systems in the world, and mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs provide ecologically interconnected systems that support the livelihoods of millions of people. For example, the World Bank has identified Mozambique as a nation where protecting mangroves can greatly protect its coastlines, which are very susceptible to climate change effects.
The Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA) and the Ministry of Sea, Interior Waters and Fisheries (MIMAIP) are committed to expanding the national network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which currently cover about 2.1% of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In 2019, Mozambique joined the High Ambition Coalition, which pledges to protect at least 30% of land and sea by 2030 and, for now, the government is aiming to protect 10% of the country’s marine area as soon as possible. Recently, MIMAIP defined three strategic lines of action to achieve these targets: i) accelerate any processes underway to create new MPAs; ii) examine local community initiatives to establish community co-managed fishing areas and assess their potential to become MPAs; and iii) use Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) as priority areas for formal protection. Aligned to these strategies, WCS recently led a project in partnership with MTA that identified and mapped 29 KBAs, 4 of which are marine and 9 coastal.
WCS has a Memorandum of Understanding with MIMAIP to support marine conservation activities and sustainable use of biological resources in this environment, and another one with MTA to support the Government in reconciling economic development with biodiversity conservation. Under this framework, WCS has collaborated with the Mozambican Oceanographic Institute (InOM, former National Institute for Fisheries Research - IIP) in the development of a project that produced technical-scientific information to support the expansion of MPAs. An inter-sectoral coordination group to support integration in the marine spatial planning (MSP) process, and the MPA network expansion was established. This group is currently active and it includes government institutions, such as the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), among several others, and other types of organizations from civil society, private sector and donors.
On the other hand, MIMAIP, along with other several partners such as IUCN (through the project Coastal resilience to Climate Change), RARE (through the Fish Forever Program), OIKOS, Blue Ventures and Solidariedade Moçambique are seeking to increase the resilience of people in coastal communities through the establishment of traditional-use fisheries managed areas (or OECMs) and ecosystem-based approaches.
In early 2020, WCS and several partners, namely IIP, Development Aid from People to People (ADPP), the Department of Biological Sciences at Eduardo Mondlane University (DCB-UEM), the Association for the Environment (AMA), ProAzul and the Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation (BIOFUND) analyzed several areas along the Mozambican coast. The objective was to determine where support could be provided to the Government to achieve its national goals of expanding the network of MPAs and supporting the mitigation of climate change effects through ecosystem-based approaches, with funding from the Blue Action Fund and other international donors.
From the assessed areas, the one that stood out is the whole stretch of coastline between the mouth of the River Lúrio (northern limit of the Nampula Province) and the southern limit of Mossuril District/Mozambique Island. This is a very important area for biodiversity especially for coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves, and has been flagged over time by different initiatives as a very important area for conservation. For example, several years ago a proposal was developed for the creation of a Special Reserve in Mossuril, which ended up not materializing. The results of the project developed by IIP and WCS for the mapping of potential areas for the expansion of MPAs show that this is one of the priority areas of the Mozambican coast, something that is corroborated by the identification of the Matibane KBA (also a Forest Reserve). The Baixo Pinda area (also a Forest Reserve), despite not having been identified as a KBA, showed great potential for such, both in the terrestrial and marine realms.
This stretch of the coastline is an area which has been subject to overfishing by many local and migrating fishers, which thus increases the fishing pressure in national Protected Areas of the Northern region, such as Quirimbas National Park (north of the study area) and Primeiras and Segundas Environmental Protected Area (south of the study area).
It is recognized that some of the main causes of the problems in northeast Mozambique are the high poverty rate and the lack of opportunities that local communities have; these, in turn, show a general dissatisfaction in the absence of future perspectives. Therefore, the Government has established the Integrated Development Agency for the North of Mozambique, which intends to promote major investment in the region, Nampula Province including. The promotion of investment in a broader region – and not just Cabo Delgado – should also contribute to prevent the expansion of the current conflict to other northern Provinces. ProAzul and BIOFUND, both project partners, play an important role in the application of funds in the region for the conservation sector and improvement of community livelihoods.
As a result of this context and the preliminary assessment made by the project partners, the northeast coast of Nampula Province was identified as important for urgent protection and improved management, thus becoming the priority site for implementation of a project to be designed and developed by the mentioned partners and which can achieve the above mentioned objectives.
Project approach and objectives
Between 2020 and 2022, this project was designed by the above-mentioned partners, based on the analysis of data resulting from a fieldwork assessment carried out in November 2020 and December 2021, in which the local communities and authorities of Memba and Mossuril were consulted, in addition to other relevant actors such as local associations, tourism operators and conservation partners with projects taking place in the study area (mentioned above), in a total of 258 people. In addition to the support of all these parties, formal letters of support were provided by MIMAIP, the National Administration for Fisheries (ADNAP), District Authorities of Memba and Mossuril and the local Community Fisheries Councils (CCPs). Additionally, the project's environmental and social safeguards were developed, which followed guidelines equivalent to those of the World Bank, and dissemination meetings were held at the National, Provincial, District, Administrative Post and community levels in March 2022.
The project was designed to be implemented over five years, aiming to enhance priority biodiversity and ecosystem services that contribute to reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience of local communities to climate change impacts, promoting effective prevention and adaptation, aiding coastal protection and supporting alternative livelihoods to fisheries. The proposed approach will also build capacity in local artisanal fishing communities, supporting local CCPs to establish, legalize, manage and sustainably monitor community-managed fishing areas.
In parallel a business and financial plan will be developed to ensure the sustainable management and monitoring of the area, contributing to improve the economic conditions of the local communities.
During the first three years of the project, the partners will develop a proposal to be presented by InOM to the government for the establishment of a new sustainable use MPA between the districts of Memba and Mossuril (with a minimum of 1000 km2, potentially reaching 7000 km2), which will include a network of effectively managed community fishing areas. Despite high overfishing, the region has a vast area of mangrove, seagrass and coral reefs that will be enhanced through protection, management and restoration activities, contributing to the achievement of the targets set in the national strategies and action plans related to climate (National Strategy for adaptation to climate change), conservation (National strategy and action plan for the conservation of biological diversity - NBSAP) and Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15.
The project aims to achieve the following results and products:
Outcome 1. Improved resilience of climate-relevant ecosystems through increased protection and management
Improved resources, instruments and capacities for the management and sustainable use of a Marine Protected Area: develop, with the support of partners, all necessary background studies and documentation to present to the Government a proposal for the creation of a new sustainable use MPA in the coastal zone of Memba and Mossuril districts (Nampula, Mozambique), where local communities will design and co-manage their fishing areas; the private sector will also be involved in the sustainable financing of the new MPA through the new biodiversity offset mechanism under development for Mozambique; support to local associations will be established/strengthened, and project results will be widely shared.
Degraded coastal ecosystems, particularly relevant to climate change adaptation, will be rehabilitated: a climate vulnerability assessment will be conducted and improved community management, restoration and protection of mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs will be achieved; new CCPs will be created, and others will be strengthened; technical capacity will be increased, equipment (e.g. patrolling vessels, monitoring equipment) and headquarters will be provided to the CCPs to protect, manage and monitor resource recovery areas of corals, seagrasses and mangroves, while improving the sustainability of its fishing areas.
Outcome 2. Improved resilience and enhanced livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities
Promoting climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods: The project will support local community groups in these two Districts through an ecosystem-based approach to improve food and water security and develop sustainable income generating activities that are perceived as effective alternatives to current livelihoods, which are not very profitable and are damaging the local ecosystems. Livelihood clubs will be created, and business start-ups will be funded. Appropriate technical training will be provided to CCPs, to Natural Resource Management Committees and local livelihood clubs and associations to restore and protect mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs.
Improved knowledge, expertise and capacity of relevant national agencies to use EbA approaches for climate resilient coastal zone management: the project will focus strongly on building the capacity of local stakeholders and national authorities in improving ecosystem management through training workshops and information dissemination. A feasibility study will be developed to propose a Blue Carbon project for the study area. A national annual event on Marine Conservation, MPAs and EbA will be organized with BIOFUND, as a complement to the institution’s annual exhibition.
Promoting an integrated and innovative approach
By partnering with the Government and communities, the partners will use science and local knowledge to inspire local stakeholders to restore and protect key biodiversity to reduce vulnerability and build resilience to climate change, promoting a better “blue” future, more secure and resilient. The project was designed in an integrated way with the national strategies for conservation, climate change and sustainable development goals, and with the Government's priorities for the North region of the country. ProAzul will channel funds from the MozNorte project to co-finance this project, which will be implemented in two of the districts selected by the World Bank and the Government.
The community-managed fishing areas that have been established in the region with the support of partners such as IUCN, RARE and Oikos/Blue Ventures will be integrated into the proposal for the creation of a formal sustainable-use MPA to be submitted to the Mozambican government, which aims to contribute to the expansion of the existing MPA network in order for the country to meet its international commitments. This initiative is innovative in the sense that it makes use of the most recent legislation published in Mozambique (the Law and Regulation for Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity – Law 5/2017 of 11 May and Decree 89/2017 of 20 December), and the Regulation for the Marine Fisheries – Decree 89/2020 of 8 October) to propose a model that integrates local communities in the management of a sustainable use MPA that can be managed by the Government or potentially co-managed by a conservation partner. The existing projects have made lasting efforts to involve local communities in the co-management of fisheries, and our initiative to create an MPA will build on such work.
Local communities will be engaged in the management of the permanent and temporary areas for recovery of fishing resources that are being developed by the aforementioned projects, and 7 new community-managed fishing areas and 14 temporary and permanent no take zones will be established under the scope of the current project. This will be achieved through training and capacity building of one existing CCP, and by creating new 6 ones, using the know-how of AMA, a local NGO, which has been successful in similar work that has been undertaken in Cabo Delgado over the past 7 years. Each CCP will be equipped with a headquarters, a patrol boat, and maritime safety and monitoring equipment. All activities have been developed in full coordination with the other conservation partners that are working with CCPs and local coastal communities in the region.
In addition, we will be developing a sustainable business and financing plan for the MPA, that will also contribute to community financing through biodiversity offsets to be implemented in the future by the private companies that are developing projects in the North of Mozambique (mainly the extractive industry sector) and other potential business initiatives that will be explored during project implementation.
By restoring mangroves and seagrasses and protecting them, as well as coral reefs, we will increase the functionality of these ecosystems to improve coastal protection from storm surges and floods, as well as improve the provisioning services that these ecosystems provide to coastal communities, such as food (e.g. fish and invertebrates). The mangrove restoration is within the Government targets proposed under the national mangrove strategy and action plan. Community groups will therefore be engaged in mangrove restoration activities including a combination of passive and active restoration (including hydrological) and establishment of nurseries. Additionally, planting of other non-mangrove tree species for construction and firewood and use of firewood saving stoves will be promoted to further decrease the pressure on the mangroves. A seagrass restoration pilot project will be established and a model management plan developed that can be replicated elsewhere in the North of the country.
As a strategy to mitigate the potential negative impacts and enhancing positive impacts resulting from the creation and future management of the MPA, the project will support the local communities, through the creation of livelihood clubs, and with focus on women, to develop alternative livelihood strategies which will decrease the pressure on marine resources, while improving the resilience and food security of the local communities. Emphasis will be given in ecosystem-based adaptation agriculture practices (EbA), to reduce the pressure on costal forest and mangroves. The final selection of a suite of pre-selected alternative livelihoods strategies will be based on the impact assessment and an analysis of local opportunities, their market potential and environmental impacts, as well as their potential to reduce the pressure on marine resources and the ecosystems mentioned above that provide coastal protection. The 27 livelihood clubs that will be created and other 6 existing associations will be supported to develop alternative income generation and business strategies, business plans and providing funding and mentorship for business start-ups, as well as establishing market linkages. ProAzul will provide complementary funds to enable the start-up of these businesses.
Interventions will include elements aimed at improving water security of the target communities through the piloting of several water harvesting systems combined with tree planting to raise the ground water levels. Food security will be boosted through the diversification of production and income generation strategies and application of ecosystem-based adaptation strategies which boost the soil fertility and decrease the demand for water in production. The support to communities to develop alternative livelihood and income generation strategies will serve as a compensation and an additional incentive for the communities to engage in sustainable management of marine and terrestrial resources. Women will be empowered to develop alternative income generating activities, which will not only reduce the pressure in marine resources, but also empower them in socio-economic terms. Scholarships will be provided to a group of young people to raise their education level and serve as an example to other members of the community.
AMA and ADPP, which have a proven track record of success in implementing Community Savings and Loan Associations, will establish this type of tool in the project’s communities and strengthen existing but not fully functional savings groups. We will also take advantage of the regulated biodiversity offset mechanism that MTA has been developing with the support of WCS and BIOFUND to mitigate and offset impacts on biodiversity. That regulation envisages that no net loss or a net gain of biodiversity can be achieved through the creation of new protected areas, especially those that can be managed by local communities. These communities will benefit from employment opportunities (restoration and monitoring activities) and through performance and results-based payments over time whenever the agreed conservation targets are achieved. The approach will result in the establishment of long-term financing, including creation of endowments through funding from the private sector, that will pay for the management and monitoring of the offset activities. In this way these communities will enjoy a sustainable source of funding tied to improved management and protection of the biodiversity within the areas they are restoring and preserving.
Finally, the project will enhance the knowledge, expertise and capacity of relevant national agencies to use EbA approaches for climate-resilient coastal zone management by organizing workshops with the different actors involved in the project, including communities, Local, Provincial and National Governments on the EbA approach implemented by the project. The partners will engage the private sector on the sustainable financing of the future MPA and the communities living within by showcasing the biodiversity offsets model customized to local fishing communities. A study to assess the feasibility of creating and selling blue carbon credits through mangrove restoration and projection to support the economic situation of local communities will also be developed and shared. The project’s activities and outcomes will be shared with a wide range of national and international stakeholders through the media and social networks and an annual event will be organized, with the support of BIOFUND, for technical discussion of aspects of marine conservation and ecosystem-based adaptation that may be decisive for decision makers.
Estimated number of beneficiaries
A total number of direct beneficiaries of the project is estimated at 14,786 people. The total estimated number of indirect beneficiaries is 99,173 people (47.994 M and 51.179 F).
Budget and project timeframe
The project will have a total funding of 7.92 million Euros (532 millions of Meticals) and will be carried out over 5 years with an expected start in the first half of 2022.