The Northern Mozambique Channel lies between northwest Madagascar, northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, containing the islands of the Comoros Archipelago and some of the Iles Eparses, strung along the center of the channel. The northern part of the channel is home to ten million people living in five countries (Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Comoros and France) is a treasure trove of natural riches, both living and mineral. Bordered by the region is the 2nd richest in the world in terms of coral reef 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, a reservoir for small-scale fishers whoaccount for 70-80% of all catches a future major producer of natural gas, with over 100 trillion cubic feet known as of 2015 and an increasingly popular destination for coastal tourism and diving.
It sees 30% of global tanker traffic plying its waters while trillions of gas reserves wait to be tapped below the sea. It is also a trove of coral diversity and tuna. In this part of the world, CORDIO and partners are working closely with local institutions and governments to help carve a new development path–one that involves large-scale conservation while contributing to 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.
The Northern Mozambique Channel initiative is:
The 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.
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.
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
In practice, we assist local stakeholders to replicate and expand smart solutions that benefit the marine environment and people’s quality of life, such as spreading Locally Managed Marine Areas and making it possible for communities and experts to share responsible fishing practices for example.
The initiative thus promotes sustainable practices and integrated management of marine-based activities such as fishing, tourism, extractives and shipping into the long term. Identifying and protecting critical habitats (e.g. fish spawning grounds, migratory corridors) from overexploitation and degradation is the cornerstone of so-called “integrated ocean management” to ensure the ocean remains healthy and continues to deliver food and benefits for local economies.
For more information and background documents on the NMCi see http://cordioea.net/the-northern-mozambique-channel-initiative/, this partner page and the NMCi page at WWF International