Climate smart solutions for Kenyan Diani-Chale marine area
Located 35 km to the south of Mombasa, the Diani-Chale Marine National Reserve is one of the most beautiful areas of the Kenyan coast. Well known by locals and foreign tourists because of its coral reefs, this National Reserve was officially established in 1995 and is one of the six Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the country. Despite its designation, however, the area has remained without proper ecosystem management. This lack has resulted in degradation of the marine resources – due to increasing population and rapid urbanization in some coastal towns, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the manager of this MPA. To tackle these and other future damage, the institution, through its Wildlife Research and Training Institute, will carry out a new programme to sustainably manage this Reserve.
To develop the project, a multi-stakeholder project steering committee will be created to serve as a platform for dialogue and discussion among authorities, all local communities and key partners. An initial assessment will take place to understand the climate change impacts this area has faced and how to better prevent climate-related challenges in the future, as well as the vulnerability of communities and ecosystems. A stocktaking study of the status of fisheries, coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and shoreline is also planned in the 75 square km of Diani-Chale coastline.
Involvement of communities
According to the Maritime Centre of the University of Nairobi, the small-scale fisheries sector in Kenya employs 10.000 people and supplies 95% of the country´s marine catch.
The Centre estimates that 60.000 coastal residents depend on the sector, which is why community involvement is so essential to the success of the implementation of the project. The population, distributed in five Beach Management Units (BMUs), will be engaged and trained on activities related to conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable utilization. These BMUs are community level organizations of fishers, fish traders, boat owners, fish processors and other stakeholders who depend on fisheries-related activities.
As part of the plan to engage communities, the KWS is envisioning jointly creating an innovative fisheries management plan and nature-based enterprises to support local livelihoods, as well as to establish a new community conserved marine areas (CCAs).
The Community Forest Association (CFA) will also be a partner in the project, as it is one of the managers of mangroves within Diani-Chale, together with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). It is estimated that at least 5ha of degraded mangroves will be restored through improved ecological approaches.
This two-year project will help Kenya achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.2, under which it committed to protecting its marine and coastal ecosystems. It will also help to meet SDG 15.5, under which Kenya committed to reducing the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. The project will also provide momentum for Kenya as it begins working towards new targets under the Global Biodiversity Framework, an ambitious plan to ensure that society is living in harmony with nature by 2050.
The Nairobi Convention’s SAPPHIRE project promotes policy and institutional reform to help improve the management of the Western Indian Ocean LME. It will build capacity among governments, communities, partners, intergovernmental organizations and the private sector in sustainable resource management and ocean governance. The project fits under component 2 of the SAPPHIRE programme: stress reduction through community engagement and empowerment in sustainable resources management