Protecting marine, coastal and land resources in Mauritania

Project description

Title: Co-management of marine, coastal and terrestrial resources
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mauritania
Lead executing agency: Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD)
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

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Context

For more than 30 years there has been a strong trend towards the degradation of ecosystems in Mauritania. This is due to climatic and socio-economic changes, but also to unsustainable usage methods of resources. Inadequate governance and management systems increase the negative impacts on ecosystem resources and services.

The natural resources of bush, forest and pasture land, which are the basis of the subsistence and income economy of about a quarter of the population, are threatened by overuse, climate change and steady population growth. Vegetation coverage is generally declining, except in areas where user associations manage resources according to the decentralized resource management approach. However, the strengthening and financing of these associations is not yet assured in the long term.

The two national parks Banc d'Arguin and Diawling are important for global biodiversity and the conservation of marine and coastal resources, which are under increasing pressure from fish meal production, artisanal fishing and the effects of climate change. The instruments and legislation necessary for integrated and climate-sensitive management of the seas, oceans and coastal areas have not yet been adequately implemented.

As a result, the populations groups who are dependent on marine, coastal and land resources are not yet adequately protected from the consequences of climate change.

Objective

Resilience to the effects of climate change has been strengthened in vulnerable population groups that depend on marine, coastal and land resources.

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Approach

The project follows on from the previous Management of Natural Resources project. It operates in three main fields of action: technical and policy advice, integrated climate-sensitive management and local user associations. 
The Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development is supported in establishing an online information system. This system records environmental data and other information required for decision-making. The project also promotes data sharing with other important partners and ministries.

The management of marine and coastal resources needs to be better adapted to climate change. For this reason, the project supports the development of decision-making instruments, the strengthening of the legal framework, and cooperation between various stakeholders with civil society involvement. Local organisations that are active in the national parks and in the coastal zone will benefit the most. The Banc d’Arguin and Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Trust Fund Limited (BACoMaB) is responsible for financing of the national parks. The fund is supported with the aim of improving its management capacities. Both national parks are also assisted in implementing their development and management plans and in meeting eligibility criteria for BACoMaB funds. In this regard, the project works together with the GOPA / Eco Consult consortium of research and consulting firms.

Finally, the project is strengthening local user associations for forest and grazing areas in the south of the country. This will improve local resource management. The project is expanding production chains for non-timber forest products in order to generate incomes from eco-friendly activities. Women in particular are to benefit from this.

Results

  • The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development manages the new digital environmental information system with specific data by area and sector. The system is operational and freely accessible.
  • The multi-actor platform PALM (Plateforme des Acteurs du Littoral et de la Mer) is currently being formalised to improve the integrated management of marine and coastal resources. Some lessons learned from the experiences of organisations, including those run by women, was presented at a conference organised by the platform at the end of 2019.
  • The BACoMaB was able to increase its capital base to EUR 31.4 million in 2019 and promotes better management practice of the national parks by setting strict criteria for financing eligibility.
  • Several instruments for the management of marine and coastal resources are being implemented, including the national strategy for environmental control and the early warning system for chemical pollution.
  • Thanks to the use of non-timber products, the estimated revenues of user associations have increased by more than 10 per cent.
  • 117 female members of user associations have implemented four climate-sensitive approaches, including the processing of non-timber products.
  • The vegetation coverage index, which evaluates the development of forest and pasture areas, is positive in 30 of 39 user associations.
©  Wim C Mullié