Enhancing Sustainable Development and Coastal Natural Resource Management in the South West Indian Ocean Countries: Regional Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Coastal Zones of the Countries of the Indian Ocean (ReCoMaP)
The Regional Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Coastal Zones of the Countries of the Indian Ocean (ReCoMaP) was a 5-year (2006-2011) programme of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) financed by the European Union. The South Western Indian Ocean (SWIO) region is characterised by very high poverty levels. Consequently, the region’s coastal natural resources face considerable strains. These pressures are largely due to the lack of effective Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
ReCoMaP was designed to strengthen the regional capacities in developing and implementing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) including strategies and plans that would contribute to reducing these pressures and therefore to the sustainable exploitation of the region’s coastal and marine resources. The programme was implemented in the seven island and coastal states of the South West Indian Ocean; Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia.
The programme's overall objective was to enhance sustainable management and conservation of natural coastal and marine resources thereby contributing to poverty alleviation among the coastal populations of the South Western Indian Ocean. More specifically, it sought to strengthen the capacity of local communities and public/private bodies in order to achieve sustainable ICZM.
Assessments of the programme found it to be a success with significant impacts experienced among the communities involved. In particular, the impact on poverty alleviation at the community level was felt even in the very short term, soon after the programme’s start. Substantial progress was made on ICZM policy design and implementation on a national level among the focal countries. All countries formally established ICZM committees and implemented national ICZM strategies or ICZM Plans. The regional component of ICZM implementation continues to be strengthened through the drafting of an ICZM protocol to the Nairobi Convention. Several meetings of legal and technical experts from the focus countries have been held to date to finalize the draft. This final document should be adopted by the technical working group prior to being presented at the 7th Conference of the Parties of the Nairobi Convention (COP7) which is to be held in 2012. It is expected that the outcome of the 7th COP will give the mandate for the parties to start negotiations by early 2013 and the Protocol adopted at the 8th COP.
1. Indian Ocean Commission
2. European Union
1. Inclusive Organizational Structure: The organizational structure was designed to encourage the input of all participating countries and their close interaction. A Steering Committee composed of senior government representatives from the participating States worked jointly with the IOC and the EU to oversee the programme’s progress, provide overall guidance and technical orientation of the programme as well as discuss, amend and approve the programme estimate proposal submitted by the RCU.
2. Information Sharing and Technology Transfer: Tools for the strengthening of ICZM planning were developed and distributed to the environmental management institutions of the participating countries. One of the effective tools developed was a DVD offering short courses in ICZM useful for academic institution such as Universities. Contents covered included: Principles of ICZM development; Planning processes in ICZM, and; Monitoring & Indicators in ICZM.
3. Regionalisation of ICZM policy and practices: This focused on the development of a regional consensus policy on ICZM required an inclusive approach that would streamline ICZM adoption and implementation among the participating countries and the greater region. 3 regional conferences were held (March 2010, April 2011 and August 2011) where draft versions of a regional ICZM technical document, translated into a draft ICZM protocol were presented and discussed. The final draft of the ICZM protocol should be validated after the 7th Meeting of the Technical and Legal Working Group which will take place in Maputo, Mozambique in early August.
4. Common Communication Platform: Sensitization on ICZM as a mechanism for sustainable development was a key aspect of ReCoMaP (RA3). This was done through various media in the different countries, however there were common communication platforms used by the programme participants. An online web portal served as the primary common platform where news and events, progress updates, programme information, success stories as well as national and regional impacts were communicated to stakeholders and the general public. The online portal was available in English (www.recomap-io.org) and French (www.progeco-oi.org), the predominant languages in the region.
5. Capacity building: Training sessions were conducted on a national level to facilitate the development of an ICZM Framework in each country. Technical assistance from the ICZM Officers and sectoral experts was offered to enhance the capabilities of local official bodies, NGOs and communities. Training kits and manuals on various aspects of ICZM were also developed and disbursed.
6. Sharing of success stories: This was communicated via the online web portal and the quarterly newsletters. Sharing of the success stories demonstrated to participating countries which ICZM approaches and projects were effective, especially those initiated under Result Area by non-state actors (NSAs).
1. Enhancing the Impact of Capacity-Development Support - The project has used various means to achieve this including seeking community consent at village meetings; creating public awareness activities such as diversity fairs; and recruiting local-level community organizers and site officers.
2. Enhancing Social Impacts through the Improved Understanding of the Causal Relationships between Environmental Management and Local Community Welfare - Consolidating the role of community and local institutions in Community Biodiversity Management (CBM) processes will strengthen social assets used to develop livelihood and conservation strategies.
3. Identifying and Supplying Elite Materials of On-Farm Diversity Provides Immediate Livelihood Support to Farming Communities - The project has identified elite materials from farmer orchards and home gardens and multiplied these in collaboration with public and private nurseries to improve supply. This process has enhanced the role of farmer and researcher collaboration in conservation of diversity on-farm and increased the value of such evolutionary (plant breeding) processes in the wake of climate change.
4. Enhancing the Catalytic Effect of GEF Financing with the Aim of: Identifying, Scaling Up and Replicating Best Practices; Improving the Base of Scientific Evidence to Develop Projects, Strategies and Policies; and Capturing Learning from Demonstrations - The project helped to increase awareness of the current status, threats and opportunities facing tropical fruit tree management. It is also playing a positive catalytic role in decision making on sustainable management efforts of tropical fruits.