Establishment of the Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council
After two years in the making, 63 members of 21 communities in the Moma estuary got together to create a single council aimed at creating a strong link between the local communities represented by the council and the government.
The establishment of the Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council is a big step for the P&S team because it represents important geographical expansion of a process that is already working well. There are two other councils that have already been established in Angoche District, one involving 12 communities around the Potone Sacred Forest, and a second one with 29 communities in the Koti Islands in the Angoche estuary. With the establishment of the Moma council, the P&S program is supporting community-based natural resource management through 3 councils in 2 districts, covering 62 communities. All these communities rely on sustainable use of important biodiversity, including coastal forest, mangroves and estuarine fisheries.
The council will not only help with the management of marine natural resources, but it will also include a component of terrestrial natural resource management such as improving sustainable soil use, coastal forest and mangrove protection. The goal of the management of both terrestrial and marine resources is to ensure that the interconnectivity between these helps improve livelihoods in the communities.
During the final meeting of this process on May 28, 2015, Cheamade Alide, Moma District Permanent Secretary, other local government leaders and representatives from various local organizations all joined the community members to elect the council’s leadership team and discuss some of the problems facing the communities in terms of conservation.
“We need to work in the communities to prevent people from continuing the use of harmful fishing practices,” said Jamal Paulo from Mucuto, the newly elected Vice-President of the council.
Arsenio E. Meneses from Minguirine, the newly elected Secretary of the Council, agreed with what Paulo said. He added that the biggest tasks for the council are raising awareness of the importance of mangrove replanting, not using mosquito nets for fishing, respecting the existing two marine no-take zones that were established in 2014, and establishment of additional no-take zones.
The newly elected president of the council, Mario Ibraimo from Tapua, has been a community ranger at one of the two marine no-take zones established in the Moma estuary. Ibraimo does this without any compensation and knows of the vital importance of the no-take zone to his community. He has been working to protect it since its establishment and has helped inform the community about the importance of respecting such no-take zones.
Members from 8 of the 21 communities are now part of the leadership team for the Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council. This goes out to show the great level of representation in the council and how interconnected every community is to the other.
The P&S team had been motivating the communities to create community based natural resource management committees, CBNRM, where people sharing common natural resources within the same geographical area make plans to protect their surroundings and educate other members of the community about the importance of conservation. After the establishment of these committees, the proposal to join forces within the greater estuary area was proposed to the communities. The idea was welcomed in all of the 21 communities in the Moma estuary and so the council was created.
“We have many groups that work independently,” Marcos Assane, terrestrial natural resource manager for P&S, said. “Our initiative in P&S is to join these groups to have more strength.”
In addition to the power of collective action, Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council will be able to count on the technical support of a task force through a working group created by the government through the CARE WWF Alliance and other NGOs.
Mr. Alide, the Permanent Secretary of Moma District, also highlighted the importance of creating a district-level forum that would bring together communities from across multiple areas in Moma. This would promote a healthier environment in ways that promote the well-being of the people.