COMBO - Biodiversity Offsets

Mozambique has been investing on economic growth to improve productive capacity and the living conditions of its population. Although the country has a strategy for sustainable development, it has not been easy to reconcile it with biodiversity conservation. Species, ecosystems, and important services that these provide, on which most of the rural population depends for survival, have been impacted.

The Government of Mozambique, thought the Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) started a collaboration, in 2016, through the COMBO Program, to try to reverse this situation. The program started with a project with the same name, originally designated as “COnservation, Mitigation and Biodiversity Offsets in Africa”,  led by WCS, in partnership with Biotope and Forest Trends, and originally funded through the French Development Agency (AFD), the French Environmental Fund (FFEM) and the Mava Foundation. It was initially implemented in four African nations -Guinea Conakri, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda – through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the governments of these countries.

The rationale behind this program has been to promote a best practice approach to reconciling economic development with the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services by mitigating the impacts generated by development projects.

The first phase of the project was implemented between 2016-2020 and has resulted in the introduction or improvement of measures, legislation, policies, technical tools, capacity building and institutional reorganization to adequately implement the mitigation hierarchy, including biodiversity offsets in the 4 African countries covered by the project.

Given the success of the first phase, AFD and FFEM decided to fund a second phase, now called COMBO+ program, which started in July 2021 and will run until 2025, this time also covering Asian countries, namely Myanmar and Laos.

In Mozambique, the COMBO+ Program is implemented through a partnership between WCS, Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation (BIOFUND) and the National Directorate of Environment (DINAB)  from the Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA), and its main purpose is to continue the work developed in the previous phase (2016-2020), ensuring the proper application of the mitigation hierarchy in the country and the operationalization of the new ministerial diploma on the implementation of Biodiversity Offsets (Diploma 55/2022), which includes the development of additional tools, capacity building and implementation of pilot projects, while supporting progress towards the achievement of national biodiversity targets.

Learn more:  https://comboprogram.org/Where-we-work/Mozambique

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Hugo Costa
Mozambique Marine Program Director, Maputo office

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