Lisbon, Portugal – July 1, 2022 – Just launched at UN Ocean, a new 5-year, 7.9 million euro project will scale up much-needed conservation work in northern Mozambique for the benefit of ecosystems and local communities alike.

“Building a Blue Future for Ecosystems and People on the East African Coast”, as the initiative is called, will over the next 5 years bring experts in conservation and the blue economy from Mozambique’s public and private sectors together to work hand in hand with local communities on the frontlines of climate change.

“Communities essentially live off fishing and depend on these ecosystems,” says Hugo Costa, WCS Mozambique Marine Program Director. “This project aims to protect an area that is very important in terms of marine biodiversity in northern Mozambique, encompassing about 200 kilometers of coast in the districts of Memba and Mossuril.”

Of those 200 kilometers, around 75 square kilometers are coral reefs, seagrass, and mangroves, coastal ecosystems that provide food and livelihoods for families as well as protection against storm surges for vulnerable shorelines. These “blue carbon” ecosystems will be brought under better management in partnership with local fishers and rights holders, and alternative sustainable livelihoods will be promoted to help take pressure off of degraded fisheries.

Of the ~8 million euro pledged, ~6 million euro comes from longtime WCS partner Blue Action Fund with part of their contribution coming from the Green Climate Fund, with the remaining ~2 million euro co-funded from a diverse pool of other donors. By the end of the project, a sustainable use Marine Protected Area will be established, including a vital network of effectively managed community fishing areas, contributing to Mozambique’s national marine protection targets.