Northern Mozambique Channel


The Northern Mozambique Channel (NMC) lies between northwest Madagascar, northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, enclosing the islands of the Comoros Archipelago, and remote islands strung along the center of the channel, and capped by the Aldabra island group to the north. The NMC is home to ten million people and six countries (Comoros, France,Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania) and is a treasure trove of natural riches, both living and mineral.

The region has many values:

  • thought to be the 2nd richest globally in coral reef and troprical marine biodiversity,
  • a strategic shipping passage, supporting 30% of global tanker traffic, 
  • a rich fishing ground with tuna fisheries worth $2 billion/yr in the Western Indian Ocean,
  • the primary provider for small-scale fishers who account for 70-80% of national fish catches. 
  • holds over 100 trillion cubic feet of known reserves of natural gas, and may become a major producer within decades
  • an increasingly popular destination for coastal tourism and diving

CORDIO and partners are working closely with local institutions and governments to help carve a new development path in the NMC, one that involves preserving and growing the natural assets of the region to assure sustainable economic development and the prosperity of the region. 

Over the next 10-30 years, this region is likely to undergo major economic development and demographic growth, perhaps among the highest in Africa. Unless this change is effectively managed, there is a substantial risk that the rich marine resources of the region will be unsustainably exploited. As a result, the lives of millions of people who directly rely on these resources could take a turn for the worse.

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Key features of the Northern Mozambique Channel initiative:

Blue EconomyPartnership approachPriorities for implementation - 2017-18
Ultimately, our goal is to help countries make the Northern Mozambique Channel a model of integrated ocean management based on Blue/Green Economy principles. To make this happen, we support governments in formulating a vision for the region and turn it into reality with tangible actions.

Five capitalsThe premise of the Northern Mozambique Channel initiative is simple: to support the countries in the region to value, protect, and even enhance the natural ocean assets that are central to their economies. An Integrated Ocean Management approach will be followed in which Marine Spatial Planning is used as the primary framework for governance. This contributes directly to the SDG14 visioning and scenarios process being undertaken in 2017, to help countries of the NMC deliver on their national and regional commitments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The initiative has adopted the Five Capitals approach, whereby interventions can be made to build the institutional, economic, natural, knowledge and/or social capitals within the region. The approach also ensures that interventions in one capital do not undermine any of the other capitals.

Partnership - NMCiCORDIO with WWF are working with governments, communities, partners and businesses to develop integrated solutions that will secure sustainable futures for communities and safeguard natural assets. In 2014 and 2015 increasing participation by other marine conservation NGOs has grown, in particular Conservation International, Birdlife International, IUCN and Blue Ventures, under the umbrella of the WIOC (Consortium for the Conservation of the Western Indian Ocean). See NMC partners activities here.

We invite all stakeholders across the region to join the partnership, which is taking place within the framework of the Nairobi Convention, and develop a common vision for the sustainable development of marine and coastal activities in the Northern Mozambique Channel

Priority activities in 2017 have included the following: