Innovating and sharing knowledge for coastal resilience in Eastern Africa

Project description


1 July 2018 – 30 June 2023 (project year runs from July to June)


Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Madagascar.


Norad (Norway), Section for Research, Innovation and Higher Education

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This project will work in four countries to generate and catalyze knowledge through high impact research that can help deliver on the countries’ “blue economy” aspirations for sustainable development.

Activities will focus on Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar, with particular sub-national focus on local government actions to sustain marine ecosystems and sustainable use. Priority locations will be in Kenya and the Northern Mozambique Channel.

The impact we seek to achieve is “high quality knowledge from research and community-based natural resource management experience is integrated into planning and implementation frameworks in marine and coastal sectors in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar“.

The project has 3 main components, outlined below.

COMPONENT 1. Marine biodiversity and ecosystem service knowledge is improved and made available on an open online platform, enhancing research and supporting national and regional policy, planning and management.The outcome from this component will be greater information available to decision-makers on marine ecosystem and related social dynamics, and expanded capacity in the WIO region for providing and sustaining this data service function.

Output 1.1. Analysis of biodiversity, economic and social data is undertaken to generate an integrated indicator set relevant to the countries for SDG Target and sustainability assessment. The focus for analytical research and data exploration in year 1 will be on interactions and interdependencies among varied indicators across domains and priority SDGs, and for their value in understanding ecological and fisheries resilience. In years 2-5, score-card/dashboard applications will be developed through country-specific consultations, to address local and national priorities, such as in marine spatial planning, national status assessments, environmental impact assessment processes, etc.

Output 1.2. Map and value coastal and marine goods and services to provide high resolution data and maps for spatial planning and development assessments. We will investigate and apply new and relevant approaches and tools (e.g. economic valuation vs. Nature’s Contributions to People, Ocean Health Index, Natural Capital Assessments, etc.) to improve understanding of ecosystem service values and vulnerability, and bring this information into local and national decision-making processes. Year 1 will focus on scoping and comparing tools and approaches, and years 2-5 on country-specific analyses and outputs.

Output 1.3. An online interactive portal and dashboard that support national and regional data exploration and analysis, with tools focused on local and national analysis, reporting and planning. This output will build on an online interactive user-oriented portal using open-source tools that will help make the data and analyses in 1.1 and 1.2 available to varied users in the target countries, building on CORDIO and other partners’ investments to date on

COMPONENT 2. Protection of vulnerable and resilient coral reefs is improved through ecological risk assessment and strengthened policy and management actions. The outcome of this component will be to synthesize regional research and monitoring on coral reefs by making it relevant to delivery of two SDG14 targets – 14.2 on improved coral reef health, and 14.5 on increased area under effective protection and management.

OUTPUT 2.1 Assessment of the threat status and vulnerability of coral reefs, identifying climate refuges and priority locations and actions for coral reef protection. This output will implement a formal risk assessment of coral reefs using the IUCN Red list of Ecosystems method, at the regional level for the Western Indian Ocean in year 1, building on regional coordination under the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) and National Coral Reef Task Forces. Higher resolution digital atlases of the findings in each of the four countries will be produced in years 2-5, including filling data gaps through reef surveys.

OUTPUT 2.2. Coral reef management improved through evidence based priority actions, strengthening national and regional networks of protected areas. National consultations will be implemented through relevant partners to identify tangible actions resulting from the reef vulnerability assessment, contribute to achievement of SDG Targets 14.2 and 14.5, with monitoring designed to measure success at local and national scales.

COMPONENT 3. Resilience to climate change through CBNRM techniques is enhanced through targeted and participatory research, peer exchange and learning. The outcome of this work will be greater awareness and learning about successful resilience-building tools and practices for artisanal fishers, building more resilient networks of community organizations and local government/NGO partners to improve sustainability of fishing in target countries. The component is implemented as part of the Northern Mozambique Channel initiative actions on the same topic.

OUTPUT 3.1. Identify and research climate-smart adaptive practices in Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM). Participatory and action research and monitoring will be used to identify and document practices that build adaptive capacity to climate change in coral reef fisheries. These climate-smart approaches will be trialled and their effectiveness measured, for dissemination within the project countries and WIO region.

OUTPUT 3.2. Fishery and CBNRM practices that build adaptive capacity to climate change shared through a Learning Network focused on local communities in the NMC and Kenya’s south coast. Existing community networks, such as of Beach Management Units, will be encouraged to adopt Learning Network approaches for peer-exchanges and networking, to learn from one another, building social and knowledge capital and accelerate behavior change. Implementation of actions learned will be monitored through participatory outcome monitoring oriented around SDG indicators. Supported activities will include: an annual national workshop in each project country; capacity building for effective leadership of community representatives; and learning exchanges between network members based on specific themes and goals for each exchange.

OUTPUT 3.3. Effective practices adopted and supported at pilot sites, improving indicators of wellbeing and sustainable development at local levels. This activity will provide small grants based on successful applications, implementation of best practices learned in this component. Community groups may identify priority interventions and apply to the project for support.

Project implementation

the project also provides core support for CORDIO, increasing our ability to deliver on our mission and vision, and sustain the information services the project supports. In addition, capacity building is provided in several forms in focal areas for Components 1-3, accessible to CORDIO staff, partners and community beneficiaries:
• partial support for 2 PhD and 5 MSc research projects;
• short-courses, technical and professional training in relevant areas;
• adult learning and skills development (through Component 3).
In addition, the project will have a detailed Monitoring and Evaluation plan, and will support development of a new Strategic Plan (2020-205) for CORDIO East Africa.