Coastal and marine diversity in the Western Indian Ocean

Project description

Title: Ocean Governance Initiative in the Western Indian Ocean Region
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Africa NA, pilot country: Mozambique
Lead executing agency: Secretariat of the Nairobi Convention
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is not only a diversity hotspot, but also crucial to the food security and development of the East African coastal states: some 60 million people are directly or indirectly dependent on fishing, tourism, and oil and gas production.

However, with increasing globalisation and a rapidly growing population in the region, demand for resources is rising dramatically. The exploitation of natural raw materials, urbanisation and industrialisation are a threat to the population’s vital natural resources. The consequences of climate change are further contributing to the decline in marine and costal biodiversity. 

Since 1985, the Nairobi Convention (NC) has been the legal framework and coordinating mechanism for regional marine protection under the aegis of the United Nations’ Regional Seas Programme (UNEP). Although the contracting parties demonstrate the political will to achieve the agreed goals, they are still unable to guarantee the protection and responsible use of endangered ecosystems. Effective cooperation between the relevant actors is failing due to factors including fragmented responsibilities, a lack of coordination and insufficient participation by trade and industry.


Regional and national actors work together more efficiently to protect and make sustainable use of marine and coastal diversity in the Western Indian Ocean.


The project structure is participative and conflict and gender-sensitive. It involves actors from different fields and is geared to regional needs. Its focuses on the following, closely related fields of action:

1. Fostering political dialogue to develop strategies for regional ocean governance. 

2. Involvement of trade and industry in regional ocean governance.

3. Developing exemplary solutions for integrated coastal management in Mozambique. 

The following factors play an important role: identification and prioritisation of common challenges, mobilisation of the main actors, expert and in-process consultancy, improved scope for action on sustainable implementation and monitoring measures.

The project is closely aligned with the objectives and current priorities of the Nairobi Convention. This should result in maximum synergies with projects which are already being implemented in the region.