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LEAP - Locally Empowered Areas of Protection in the Western Indian Ocean

As of: January 2022

Marine protected areas account for only 2.1% of the Western Indian Ocean. The Aichi 2020 targets and SDG 14, however, provide for a coverage of 10%. The project therefore seeks to improve the Locally Managed Marine Areas concept (LMMA) in order to further disseminate it as a successful model for protected areas and to achieve the Aichi targets. To this end, the project integrates the topic of climate resilience into the LMMA concept. It also carries out restoration measures of critical ecosystems with the support of local communities. This increases the positive effects of LMMAs on biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change impacts. LMMAs share knowledge of proven measures with one another and strengthen advocacy through a regional network. The integration of the LMMA approach into national, regional and international policies, will establish it as one of the main models for coastal and marine protection and for ecosystem-based adaptation.

State of implementation/results

  • In Seychelles, a National Working Group (NWG) was set up with members from various government departments and civil society stakeholders to guide the project.
  • The project sites have been identified (namely Port Launay Marine Park and Baie Ternay Marine Park) and ongoing site-level consultations and surveys (socio-economic and ecological) are being carried out. The marine biodiversity assessment was completed at the end of Q4 2020.
  • The National Parks Authority (SNPA) has acknowledged that a formal structure at local level is important to bring about the co-management of the marine national parks.
  • The project developed a strategy to establish an underwater reef trail in Port Launay (Seychelles). Lifeguards are trained and guided tours for the snorkelling and diving trail are offered. Community activities are organised to strengthen identification with and ownership of the Marine National Park.
  • A photo guide for the monitoring work of the LEAP officer and the marine park rangers has been developed, which enables rapid identification of key marine species on the reefs.
  • In Mozambique, the environmental authority AMA cooperates with six Community Fishing Councils (CCPs) in the five municipalities of Muitua, Murrebue, Maueia, Muinde and Natuco. Maueia and Muinde manage four protected areas through their fishing councils: two temporary reserves and two recreational zones (no-fishing zones). Exchange visits were organised between the CCPs of Muitua and Murrebue to discuss the division of fishing zones, the joint management plan and benefit sharing during the fishing season, as well as the participatory elaboration of the boundaries of the fishing zones between the two communities. --275 community members belong to eleven village savings and credit groups with total assets equivalent to about US$15,000.
  • A group was formed with the aim of reintroducing the endangered mangrove crab (Sylla serata mast) and promoting its sustainable use.
  • In Mozambique, CORDIO, together with the environmental authority AMA and other local researchers, conducted a survey of ecological data in five community reserves to assess biodiversity and climate vulnerability. The ecological data collected will be analysed to provide indicators of the sensitivity and resilience of coral populations to warming, and combined with environmental factors such as historical sea surface temperature to provide holistic assessments. A regional workshop was organised with the provincial government and other relevant stakeholders to share these ecological data for climate vulnerability assessment. The initiative to create a provincial LMMA network and its potential benefits was also presented at this workshop.
  • In Kenya, the project supports the development of a co-management area plan in Marereni and the SAGE process in Kuruwitu.

Project data

Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania

Implementing organisation:
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) - Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office

Political partner(s):
  • Institute for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture (IDEPA) Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters, and Fisheries
  • Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change - Seychelles
  • Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife - Kenya
  • Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries, Fisheries - Tanzania
  • State House, Office of the Vice President - Department of The Blue Economy

Implementing partner(s):
  • Associação do Meio Ambiente (AMA)
  • CORDIO East Africa
  • Nature Seychelles

BMU grant:
4.124.185,00 €

04/2019  till  03/2023

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