The first project steering committee (PSC) meeting for the Integrated Management of the Marine and Coastal Resources of the Northern Mozambique Channel (NOCAMO) Project was convened on December 6, 2023. The PSC was convened to review and approve the project’s progress and expenditure. Additionally, it sought to review and approve the project’s annual work plan and budget for 2024, and to foster comprehensive understanding between stakeholders to ensure the project’s successful execution.
Although this was the first steering committee for the project, previous engagements with project proponents and stakeholders had laid a solid foundation for collaborative efforts. Since the initial partner meeting held in February 2023, three follow-up meetings with partners and donors occurred on April, May, and June respectively. Furthermore, during the Marine Regions Forum, a technical dialogue with the Nairobi Convention country focal points took place on November 2023, alongside a NOCAMO side event at the same event. These interactions raised the profile of the project among partners and paved the way for constructive discussions during the steering committee.
The meeting commenced with opening remarks from Mr. Dixon Waruinge, Head of the Nairobi Convention Secretariat, and Mrs. Felismina Antia, providing insights into the project’s inception and objectives. Key discussions centered around project progress and the 2024 workplan, with presentations from project leads highlighting achievements and upcoming activities.
Of significant note from the meeting was the withdrawal of two partners from certain project activities, prompting discussions on reallocating unused budgets and restructuring engagements to maximize project impact.
While presenting progress made with the implementation of Component 1 of the project, Ms. Aurelia Care, NOCAMO Project Coordinator- Nairobi Convention highlighted key achievements. These included national consultations with MSP stakeholders in Madagascar, establishing links with other Regional Seas Conventions to raise awareness, conducting a scoping study in Tanzania and Madagascar on existing spatial and temporal management tools, releasing the Mozambique Marine Biodiversity Atlas, providing training to stakeholders in the oil and gas sector on impacts mitigation and offsets, and developing a learning network at national and regional levels in the SWIO region on sustainable practices and community-based initiatives.
The subsequent discussions delved into synergies among Nairobi Convention projects, emphasizing the collaborative sharing of data through the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM). The Chair actively encouraged participation and sought clarification on the involvement of a GIS expert in the online atlas-building activities. In response, Mr. Dixon Waruinge emphasized the necessity of cloud storage services for merging WIO Symphony into CHM, while Mr. Jared Bosire underscored NOCAMO’s pivotal role in strengthening connections with Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) technical working groups for impactful project delivery.
Component 2, spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), focuses on identifying gaps and opportunities to mitigate risks posed by oil and gas activities to biodiversity. On this Component, Dr. Samantha Petersen presented three main areas: developing best practice guidelines, enhancing governmental and NGO capacities, and conducting workshops. She mentioned several implemented activities including the development of Mozambique’s marine biodiversity atlas, the finalization of a national gap analysis in Madagascar, and successful workshops held in Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tanzania on best practices for oil and gas development.
In Component 3, led by CORDIO East Africa, Mr. Joshua Rambahiniarison emphasized efforts to enhance community livelihoods through marine resource management best practices across the four beneficiary countries, collaborating with partners (AIDE-Comoros, MIHARI-Madagascar, AMA-Mozambique, and Sea Sense-Tanzania). He discussed ongoing plans for a June 2024 regional workshop focused on establishing a Community Based Natural Resource Management learning network and sharing effective practice models across the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) region. He also highlighted the development of an online platform to provide community members with access to learning materials, toolkits, and guides in preparation for the workshop.
The meeting concluded with approval of the 2024 workplan and budget from the Steering Committee. Some key next steps derived from the meeting focused on continued stakeholder engagement, reviewing component activities distribution across project countries. In his closing remarks, Mr. Waruinge expressed gratitude to participants and emphasized the importance of collaboration in achieving NOCAMO’s goals.
The NoCaMo project, funded by the FFEM and co-financers SIDA and members of the Western Indian Ocean Consortium, has a budget of €5,788,220. The French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) representing the French Development Agency (AFD), contributes 1.5 million euros, with €421,728 designated to the Nairobi Convention activities. Additionally, the project receives €132,000 from the French Biodiversity Agency (OFB), for coordination.