Sustainable Management of Coastal and Marine Protected Areas

Project description

Title: Sustainable Management of Coastal and Marine Protected Areas
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: India
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC); Government of India (GoI)
Overall term: 2012 to 2017

India. Khazan system © GIZ


Marine coastal areas are among the world’s most productive ecosystems. In India, they sustain the livelihoods of over 20 million people. At the same time, however, coastal ecosystems are increasingly suffering under the pressure of a constantly growing population: in many places, these important habitats are being overexploited, polluted and degraded. The coastal ecosystems in numerous regions are already in a critical condition. Existing conservation measures are not sufficient to address the increasingly urgent problems. The negative effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems are making matters worse. It is therefore necessary to establish protected areas and to promote better conservation measures.


The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity have improved in the pilot protected areas with due consideration to the livelihoods of the local population.


Working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the Indian Government in protecting biodiversity. New conservation areas are being established and strategies for the management of protected areas involving the local population are being promoted. By bringing on board stakeholders at local, state and national levels, the project aims to make a decisive contribution to the conservation of areas rich in biodiversity without compromising the resource use and livelihood options of the local population.

GIZ proceeds as follows:

  1. Participatory management strategies for selected existing and planned protected areas are being designed and introduced.
  2. Training programmes are being developed and leadership skills are being strengthened in selected states and at the national level to support the sustainable management of protected areas.
  3. Key players in business, science, politics and civil society are being informed and made aware of the importance of conserving coastal and marine areas.
India. Watch tower mangroves © GIZ


With the support of GIZ, seven pilot areas were established in the states of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Studies on natural resources management in India and the use of traditional knowledge were carried out. The existing biodiversity at the project sites was recorded and data collected on the composition of the local population that could be affected by improved environmental management in the coastal zone. This knowledge was used to produce detailed work plans together with the partners.

The project devised a training strategy to give future forestry officials a better understanding of the specific requirements involved in managing protected areas in marine coastal regions. The two leading training institutions for Indian forest management have declared themselves willing to develop training courses and programmes with the support of the project and include them in the forthcoming curriculum. Similar steps are also envisaged for the fisheries sector and the information sector.

To cater for the highly diverse visual and learning habits of the target population, the project has had a modular system developed for biodiversity exhibitions. The objective is to raise the awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity among those affected. The partners will support this measure with substantial resources of their own in some cases – for example, by renovating buildings intended for exhibitions.

India. Mangroves © GIZ

In October 2014, India formally ended its two-year presidency of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). To mark this occasion, the project, together with India’s Environment Ministry, organised a discussion round on participatory management of protected areas in coastal regions. The participants presented examples from India, Senegal and Germany and reported on their experiences.

Additional information