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 2019



Climatic changes, continuous population growth, non-sustainable use of resources – for more than 30 years, Mauritania has been watching its natural resources dwindling. And yet, about a quarter of the population relies on these natural resources for their subsistence and commercial farming. The two National Parks, Banc d’Arguin and Diawling, are important for biodiversity and the conservation of marine and coastal resources. However, they are facing increasing pressure as a result of fishmeal production, non-industrial fishing and the impacts of climate change. The basic instruments and legal provisions needed to achieve integrated marine and coastal area management that is climate-sensitive have not yet been sufficiently formalised. The dune belt on Mauritania’s densely populated coast provides important protection against flooding but sections of it are eroded. Bush, forest and grazing land in southern parts of the country is threatened by overuse.

In most areas where natural resource management is not centralised but under the responsibility of local user associations, the vegetation cover is increasing. However, long-term financing for the user associations is not yet guaranteed. Population groups that depend on marine, coastal and terrestrial resources are still inadequately protected from the impacts of climate change (insufficient resilience of vulnerable population groups).


Population groups that depend on marine, coastal and terrestrial resources are better prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change.




The implementation of the project focuses on the two National Parks, Banc d’Arguin and Diawling, and on the dune belt along the country’s coast. This primarily serves to protect Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, and the Guidimakha and Hodh El Gharbi regions in the south. The programme focuses on three areas: on the one hand, it supports information-based decision-making processes and, on the other hand, it promotes climate-sensitive integrated management of marine and coastal resources and climate-sensitive management of communally used forest, bush and grazing resources.

The first area concentrates on supporting the environment ministry at national level, whereas the other two fields of action focus on the sub-national and local level. Climate risks are systematically integrated on all levels. Furthermore, measures to improve the participation of the local population, especially women, and their share in the benefits arising from sustainable management of natural resources are identified and implemented.

GOPA/Eco Consult, a consortium of consultancy companies, is providing support in implementing the second field of action.

©  Wim C Mullié