Ministry of Tourism hosts Open Standards Conservation Planning Workshop for the Primeiras & Segundas Environmental Protected Area (PSEPA)
The National Administration of Conservation Areas of Mozambique´s Ministry of Tourism brought together more than 35 individuals representing over 20 stakeholder institutions last week for a four-day Open Standards Conservation Planning workshop in Angoche for the Primeiras & Segundas Environmental Protected Area (PSEPA). Following the declaration of the Primeiras & Segundas Archipelago as an Environmental Protected Area in November last year, the workshop served as a critical next step in the participatory development process of the area’s Management Plan.
Facilitated by Anita Diederichsen and Gustavo Gatti, representatives of The Nature Conservancy, participants discussed and analyzed the area and its resources from a variety of perspectives with the goal of building a common understanding of and identifying potential strategies for PSEPA management.
Participants represented a wide stakeholder base, including representatives of four government ministries (Tourism, Environment, Agriculture, Fisheries) at district, provincial and national levels, leadership of three district fishing associations, and local fisherman representing private sector fish-processing companies.
The workshop was a special moment for me as I have been accompanying the declaration process since 2005. We appropriated the reserve area as our own, and through the process, we were able to put forth what we would like to see prioritized. The process was not top-down, but participatory at all levels: local community, provincial, national and international-
Miguel Massunda, Director of SDAE (District Services for Economic Activities), District Government, Angoche
National and international non-governmental organizations including the CARE-WWF Alliance, WWF Coastal East Africa, WWF US and the National Capital Project, and representatives of leading national and international universities were also present, contributing complementary conceptual models and analytical frameworks.
The Protected Area is not an area of Total Protection, but a Mutiple-Use Area whose protection and management will be defined in the Management Plan. The region is home to approximately 300,000 inhabitants whose livelihoods depend on the resources and services provided. The goal is to capitalize on resident knowledge and design a Management Plan that responds to the mutual interests of conservation and secured, healthy livelihoods.
To assist with this, the National Capital Project introduced an ecosystem services model illustrating the stream of vital benefits flowing from the area´s land, water and biodiversity to the people living within PSEPA. The Alliance engaged participants in discussions of benefit flow and sharing, highlighting how not all benefit equally. Contributions assisted participants with developing strategies which take into account the diverse ecology and beneficiary-stakeholder base (i.e. women, rural farmers, fisherman, companies, etc.) and how they relate to one another.
Assuate Ussene, participant and community fisherman contracted by Diamante Marsicos Lda., one of two fish processing companies in Angoche, expressed his satisfaction with being able to learn and share with people who he “never had dreamed would converse” with him:
My voice was heard, I was able to contribute something…my knowledge of the sea. I also learned of ways to protect what we have so that tomorrow, we have a way to sustain ourselves.
Ussene and his fellow fishermen participants have already begun sharing what they learned from and contributed to the workshop with their colleagues, knowing that this is just the beginning.
The fish and reefs need our care and protection so as not to disappear, we have told them. Our lives are at sea. If we do not begin to care, we will suffer. We are looking forward to the management plan to begin to help ourselves and colleagues preserve what we have.
From here, the products of the workshop will be handed off to a consultant who, over the next few months, will engage stakeholders like Ussene and communities in more in-depth consultations regarding resource use and management regime options. A first draft of the Management Plan will be produced by December, with a second presented to local stakeholders for input by March 2013. The final draft will be presented to the Council of Ministers by the Ministry of Tourism in May of 2014 for review.
This was the first time that a diverse representation of all of the legitimate users and interested parties have come together to share their voices and visions regarding the sustainable and equitable management of the PSEPA. Their collaborative efforts led to a common vision for PSEPA:
The Primeiras & Segundas Environmental Protected Area with healthy environments, managed in an integrated, sustainable and participatory manner, generating benefits and diversified livelihood options for local communities and other stakeholders
As Simon Chitsenga, P&S District Coordinator for Angoche, puts it,
We hope that the results generated from the seminar will assist and be reflected in the work the consultant will do in the next phase of Management Plan development.
See here or at top the Executive Summary of the Results of the Planning Seminar for the PSEPA