Protection and management of marine and coastal ecosystems to promote and support the sustainable blue growth of coastal communities in the Boeny and Sofia regions
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The project's primary objective for the Boeny and Sofia regions is to enhance food security, resilience, and reduce poverty in coastal small-scale fishing communities in the Bays of Bombetoka, Mahajamba, and Sahamalaza. The overarching goal is to promote sustainable conservation and utilization of marine and coastal habitats, with a particular focus on mangroves, through collaborative and integrated management approaches. The project aims to develop a sustainable co-management mechanism, promote community-based management and ecosystem restoration, and explore viable alternative livelihood options. The priority activities include developing local Maritime Spatial Planning, implementing management and restoration plans for critical habitats, implementing livelihood strategies for fishing communities, and creating a toolkit for climate change adaptation. The ultimate outcome is the application of effective strategies and tools to sustainably conserve and restore mangrove resources in the target regions.
In 2019, Madagascar was chosen as one of three countries to participate in the Sida funded SWIOFC-Nairobi Convention partnership project focused on Marine and Coastal Governance and Fisheries Management for Sustainable Blue Growth. The project aims to address concerns related to fisheries and the environment through coordinated interventions. The project is jointly implemented at both the regional level by the FAO/SWIOFC Secretariat and the UNEP/Nairobi Convention Secretariat, and at the national level by collaboration between ministries responsible for fisheries and environment, forming a National Project Coordination Committee (NPCC). The project's main components and outcomes are Environmental Management, Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, and Coordination, Knowledge Management. Madagascar's selection is significant due to its vast mangrove areas, representing about 2% of the world's mangroves, which offer various ecological and economic benefits to coastal communities.
The selected demonstration sites in Madagascar are located in the Boeny and Sofia regions, known for their significant mangrove areas. These regions face challenges related to mangrove degradation due to human pressures resulting from poverty, traditional dependence on mangrove resources, and inadequate governance mechanisms. The project aims to demonstrate effective approaches for community engagement in the protection and integrated management of coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, to support sustainable blue economy initiatives. Small-scale fisheries play a vital role in the coastal communities' livelihoods, and the project's focus on these regions aims to address issues such as declining fish catches, climate change impacts, and the threats to mangroves, coral reefs, and sea grass beds. The lack of local fisheries management plans makes the project's involvement particularly valuable in these regions.
The implementation of this project aligns with Madagascar's National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Coastal and Marine Resources, focusing on critical habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, coastal wetlands, and coastal forests, which are vital for the well-being of coastal populations and the country as a whole. The project aims to revive the national committee on sustainable mangrove management, strengthen the application of national legal texts related to marine and coastal environments, and enhance the institutional framework for integrated coastal zone management. At the local level, the project will build on successful practices of transferring natural resource management to communities (COBA) and utilizing Dina (local conventions) in resource governance. Additionally, the project aligns with WIOSAP's Component A, which emphasizes the protection, restoration, and management of critical coastal habitats and ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean region. By developing collaborative arrangements for sustainable conservation and utilization of mangroves, the project contributes to safeguarding the natural resource base and improving the livelihoods of communities.
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