Alignment capacity building and policy influencing to get best practice mangrove restoration embedded

Based on the success of CBEMR training in Lamu, area KFS officers identified the need to spread this knowledge to the KFS managerial team and senior policy-level managers from KFS headquarters, county forest conservators from the 5 coastal counties of Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, Tana River, and Lamu and their forest managers, and lecturers from Kenya school of forestry. 

We organised a CBEMR managerial training, drawing in KFS managers, all coastal county department of Environment directors, and representatives from universities, the Western Indian Ocean Mangrove Network and local media. 

As a result, the team agreed to incorporate the CBEMR approach in the proposed Kenya mangrove restoration technical order. Furthermore, it was agreed to develop a national mangrove restoration platform to standardise mangrove management and conservation, especially for restoration projects. 

Kenya is also developing national mangrove restoration guidelines, supported by Wetlands International and WWF Kenya. It builds on the Global Best Practice Guidelines on Mangrove Restoration developed by the Global Mangrove Alliance amongst others, led by WI and CI in collaboration with dozens of scientists. 

Policy Formulation: National-level forest managers should be engaged in local/county based restoration initiatives to aid in the development of mangrove forest policies. For instance, based on the success of the first CBEMR training in Lamu, area KFS officers identified the need to spread this knowledge to the KFS managerial team and senior policy-level managers from KFS headquarters, county forest conservators from the 5 coastal counties of Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, Tana River, and Lamu and their forest managers, and lecturers from Kenya school of forestry. 

A CBEMR managerial training was therefore undertaken in September 2023, drawing in KFS managers, all coastal county department of Environment directors, and representatives from universities, the Western Indian Ocean Mangrove Network and local media. The team agreed to incorporate the CBEMR approach in the proposed Kenya mangrove restoration technical order and develop a national mangrove restoration platform to standardise mangrove management and conservation, especially for restoration projects. 

Marine Management

Much support was given to improve fisher capacity to manage their access to and use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). The programme recognised that the establishment of marine managed and protected areas as a method of marine management has resulted in increased reliance on Fish Aggregating Devices installed outside the marine managed and protected areas, for sustenance of the fishery sector.  Fishers within the Carriacou Fisher Folks Inc also recognised this and the need for attention to be paid to the monitoring and management of this resource.  This beckoned the implementation of FAD Data Management training for fishers of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.  The training was facilitated through the Fisheries Department of the Government of Grenada, and included information sharing on, but not limited to data on marine conservation, history of FADs in the region, the importance of data collection, legislation, its challenges, development of informal protocols and rules, identifying fish species as well as data collection methodology and post data collection analysis.  The workshop also realised the commitment of fishers to establish GrenFAD, which will take the leading role in the management of the FADs.  The fishers agreed and signed off on the soft rules for FAD Fishing, membership and FAD fees, data collection, data collection templates and protocols for data collection and management.  Actors in the fishery sector and marine management/protection were also trained in the use of underwater drones for remote sensing. The Programme provided support for construction of at least 6 FADS for the St. Marks fishers in Dominica. In the case of Saint Lucia, the provision of navigational tools to assist in accessing the FAD locations, which are often many miles offshore, and generally speaking to assist with safety at sea.

With increased application of marine management strategies, there has been increased use of FADS to supplement the loss of access to fishing grounds which have been redesignated as protected areas, managed areas or reserves.  Thus, the CATS interventions to improve capacity to manage these FADS were quite opportune in timing, and the fishers were keen on participating in the interventions related to them.  In the case of the ROV’s this improved capacity enabled the beneficiaries to be ready to improve their monitoring efficiency and quality. 

The Programme recognised the need for practical, user-guided solutions and implementations as critical elements for success and long term and far reaching benefits from the same.  With regard to the FAD management and trainings, this process was smoothly executed with fishers taking ownership of this and taking the lead to put arrangements in place to better manage their FADs.

Integración de humedales urbanos costeros en procesos de políticas publicas

Del análisis de políticas e instrumentos relevantes para la integración de humedales urbanos, se identificó como la principal herramienta de planificación de la gestión urbana los Planes o Programas Municipales de Desarrollo Urbano (PMDU). 

Aunque las autoridades municipales no regulan las actividades que se realizan en los humedales, sí pueden darles el artículo 115 constitucional, formular los instrumentos de planeación territorial y autorizar y controlar los usos de suelo de los territorios adyacentes o lejanos a los humedales, que pueden generar impactos, directos o indirectos, sobre los humedales. En este sentido, los municipios pueden: i) formular instrumentos de planeación territorial, ii) autorizar y controlar los usos de suelo de los territorios adyacentes o lejanos a los humedales (por ejemplo, construcciones), iii) controlar las descargas de aguas residuales a los sistemas de drenaje o alcantarillado de los centros de población, iv) inspeccionar, vigilar y fiscalizar las descargas de agua residuales por uso doméstico y público urbano que carezcan o que no formen parte de un sistema de alcantarillado y saneamiento, v) implementar plantas de tratamiento de agua, vi) prevenir y controlar los efectos sobre el medio ambiente ocasionados por la generación, transporte, almacenamiento, manejo, tratamiento y disposición final de residuos sólidos e industriales no considerados como peligrosos, entre otros, que de manera directa o indirecta pueden tener impacto en la calidad y cantidad de los servicios ecosistémicos de los humedales, vii) establecer zonas de conservación ecológica municipal, entre otros. Por lo tanto, las autoridades municipales están directamente vinculadas al control y prevención de los impactos que afectan a los humedales (expansión de ciudades, contaminación, dragado, relleno, sedimentación, disminución del caudal de agua, entre otros). 

La integración de los humedales en los PMDU es fundamental para controlar y prevenir los impactos a distancia o cercanía (bordes) que afectan los humedales y aprovechar de manera sostenible los servicios ecosistémicos que los humedales brinden.

Se realizó un análisis de los PMDU de los municipios de las tres regiones del proyecto BIOCITIS, y se evidenció que en el diagnostico reconocen en distinta medida, la importancia de los humedales urbanos y que los humedales urbanos son vulnerables a los elementos específicos de los metabolismos de las ciudades, como los cambios de uso de suelo, la gestión de aguas servidas y residuos sólidos, construcción de infraestructura y desarrollo inmobiliario y hotelero, salvo por contadas excepciones, la información entre los campos ambientales y de desarrollo está relacionada con un análisis de enfoque causa – efecto. Las estrategias de desarrollo planteados en los PDMU carecen de medidas concretas de control y prevención de las acciones de desarrollo que afectan la calidad de los humedales urbanos. 

Luego del diagnóstico de la integración de humedales urbanos en PMDU se analizaron las metodologías y guías sobre el diseño de PMDU que ayudan a los responsables de formular instrumentos de planificación urbana del municipio, elaborando estos documentos. Al igual que en los PMDU, se evidenció que, en las guías los humedales son considerados como elementos en el diagnóstico, pero no en la fase prospectiva de las estrategias, proyectos y líneas de acción. 

Como resultado del análisis, se generó una guía metodología para integrar humedales urbanos en los PMDU, para establecer orientaciones y pautas que faciliten la integración de estos humedales urbanos costeros, buscando potenciar la gestión urbana de estos ecosistemas.  La guía se diseñó para tomadores de decisión municipal, personas que formulan PMDU (técnicos municipales y consultores), y para personas interesadas en integrar el valor y la importancia de los humedales urbanos costeros en este esfuerzo de planificación urbana.

Se divulgo el manual en webinar a un total de 25 personas, y se aprovecho el contenido del material para la incorporación de criterios para la conservación de humedales urbanos costeros dentro del reglamento de la ley de asentamientos humanos de Quintana Roo. 

  • Los humedales urbanos generan servicios ecosistémicos a la población, como la recreación y esparcimiento; sin embargo, la degradación de los humedales puede también afectar a la población, como por ejemplo ser fuente de enfermedades (mosquitos), malos olores, etc. Los municipios deben considerar tanto los servicios ecosistémicos como las afectaciones a la población de vivir cercana a humedales degradadas en sus PMDU. 
  • Los municipios no consideran a la gestión de humedales como parte de su accionar por diferentes razones como desconocimiento, confuso de la legislación, bajo voluntad política etc., lo cual dificultó su involucramiento en los procesos del proyecto. Se vio esta falta de interés desde los PMDU que carecen de estrategias y proyectos orientados a la conservación de los humedales. Los municipios, aunque sin competencias directas en la administración de los humedales, deben integrar los humedales en sus PMDU y los proyectos, especialmente los que se relacionan a la zonificación urbana, control de cambios de uso de suelo, gestión de aguas servidas, recolección de residuos sólidos, y manejo de asentamientos irregulares ubicados cerca de los humedales urbanos, por los impactos que estos generan sobre la salud de los humedales urbanos. 
Youth Engagement

Educational and knowledge exchange programs were used to promote awareness of the importance of effectively managing ecosystems.  By focussing on the younger generation, the Programme sought to incorporate sustainability into its impacts as these youth would be the decisionmakers of the future. Further, there is the observation that children tend to share whatever they have learned with their parents. Thus, it is seen as an opportunity to reach the wider community with information.  Several approaches were executed.  In 2017, the Programme supported the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve (SSMR) Day in Dominica, a major collaborative effort between local authorities and the CATS programme.  500 primary school students and 81 teachers from 33 primary schools participated in activities that promote the understanding of the ridge to reef concept.  There was also adoption of the Soufriere Primary School as a Reef Guardian School.  This initiative served the dual purpose of educating and raising awareness of students and by extension, their parents, of the ridge to reef concept, and also making teachers more aware of these, so they could better instruct their students.  Also, in Soufriere Saint Lucia, three schools benefitted from support for the establishment of low chemical garden plots to produce food for the School Feeding Programmes embarked on these schools. The garden establishment also involved active participation of the children in the gardening process and revenue generation by the school through sale of excess produce.  This also realised development of management guidelines to be used by the schools for managing their existing plots as well as implementing similar. 

There is increased awareness of the importance of ensuring that the younger generation are fed good quality food.  This in addition to the need for easy access to good quality food secured the buy in needed for the execution of the school food production projects in St. Lucia.  In the case of Dominica, the SSMR Day event was already an initiative implemented by the Fisheries Division for years and thus there was already an appetite in the society for it.  The Reef Guardian programme could be considered an offshoot stimulated by the aforementioned SSMR Day. 

In engaging schools it is critical to incorporate parental support.  This not only is in an effort to ensure their consent, but also to create opportunities for parents to have a better understanding of the information being shared with their children, granted, these concepts are important for societal wellbeing.  They could also provide support for implementation even after the project would have ended.  It was also critical to obtain buy in from the school administrations which would have to put all conditions in place to support the establishment of the initiatives, but also the continuity of the same.

Land Management - Good agricultural practices

The CATS Programme was based on the acknowledgement that good practices within the terrestrial zone augur well for the health of the coasts and marine spaces.  Thus, it worked with practitioners (farmers, foresters, agroprocessors) within this space by teaching and reinforcing good practices that could be incorporated within their operations.  A small group was also taught the specialised skills for mushroom cultivation as an alternative to traditional crop production.  This niche area was anticipated to increase food production diversity as it aligned with the practices of good resource management, recycling of byproducts and resilience.  For practitioners at the management level, the Programme supported the training of various persons in the practical application of Unmanned Aerial Systems for natural resource management and monitoring.  Since CATS Programme’s introduction of this, several other organisations both private and public sector have embarked on similar trainings for their officers. 

Resource management was an area of much focus by various actors within the stakeholder community.  Thus, the challenge of obtaining buy-in and interest was minimal.  Partners already had at least a basic understanding of the importance and relevance of effective resource management and the interconnection between the terrestrial and marine spaces.  Further, given there were several other actors in the technical support and grant sectors with whom it was possible to collaborate to maximise results.  Support from the ministries of agriculture in the various islands was also an enabling factor.  Their technical expertise helped facilitate the implementation of the various initiatives. The ministries were the principal source of technical support for all terrestrial interventions under the programme. With regard to the management level, the actors, particularly in the forestry sector, saw the technology as a very relevant intervention as they were keenly aware of their monitoring limitations and saw the tool as an opportunity to improve the scope and efficiency of their monitoring. 

The incorporation, within farming practice, of non-synthetic inputs for fertility and control of pests and weeds, though widely practiced many decades ago, is now alien to the majority of farmers.  Modern farmers rely on their crop for their livelihoods and have clearly expressed that they are not willing to experiment on their sale crops by incorporating improved practices.  They expressed concern about the risk of diminished crop quality, a situation which would reduce their revenue.  They were unconvinced that they would be able to sustain their livelihoods if they were to change their farming practice to be more environmentally friendly. Thus, and future iterations of projects seeking to improve farm practices would have to incorporate significant investment and focus on demonstration plot establishment, research and development and start-ups.  Despite having gone through a very rigorous process of participant selection for the mushroom cultivation training, it was recognised that the personal economic challenges and ambitions of the participants was an inhibiting factor; although all the trainees were keenly interested in pursuing the business start-up, they were challenged by the need to have secure revenue, and found it easier to continue their modus operandi prior to the training, as opposed to making the sacrifice needed to start the new businesses.  All this was despite the project incorporating in its design access to raw materials needed for production during the initial months of production.  The high-risk aversion of persons being encouraged to start up new businesses needs to be overcome by incorporating even more support mechanisms.  The Programme failed to complete the second phase of the remote sensing training, thus pilots trained and their organisations failed to attain the full support needed to confidently incorporate remote sensing in their operations.  Future such interventions should ensure completion of all necessary phases of support to ensure sustainability. 

Capacity building of the WIOMN

The project team facilitated the development of the supporting documents  required to enhance the capacity of the network and finalize the formal registration as an NGO in Zanzibar. The documents developed included the operational manual and the strategic plan. In addition, the website was developed. A consultancy was paid to aid the network to take the necessary steps needed for the registration. 

The availability of the funds, the willingness of the WIOMN, the good collaboration within the consortium, the local representation of the member of the consortium. 

National Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan

National Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan 2017-2027 provides for establishment of National and County Mangrove Management Committees to serve as advisory organ to inform Kenya Forest Service on the technical issues regarding mangrove management. The committees at national and in the five counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu, have been established and operationalized. Their membership comprise of technical experts for mangrove ecosystem relevant disciplines, including; Forestry, Fisheries, Wildlife, Water, Land, and Climate, and representatives of communities and Civil Society/Non-governmental organizations.

The National Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan was developed through a participatory process and adopted by Government.

  1. Inclusive participation of Government, community, Civil Society/Non-governmental organizations
  2. Government policy that provides for establishment of the committees to coordinate mangrove management 
Strengthing relationship with the regional key actor on mangrove conservation

Following the mapping of the key actors in the WIO region, the consortium approached (confirm with Fidy or Modesta) the WIOMN on the eventual collaboration related to mangrove conservation. The need of the registration and capacity building were identified jointly. The needed activities were budgeted in the proposal.  

The good relationships of WWF, IUCN and WI, the good overviews of actors and the extensive experience in working in the WIO region. 

Building block 4 – Cooperation between NOCs and local nature conservation organisations as a prerequisite for success

The IOC requires that all Olympic Forest Network projects “be developed and implemented in collaboration with the relevant experts and authorities.” All six projects that are currently part of the Network not only take this requirement into account but establish it as a corner stone of their implementation.

For example, the Papua New Guinea project involves a partnership between the NOC, local communities, the National Fisheries Authority, and the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority. The Slovenian project is partnered with the Slovenian State Forestry Company; the Spanish with the Ministry of the Environment and the Federation of Spanish Municipalities; while the Portuguese project has the technical support of the governmental Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) and the Abramud e Sentido Verde association. 

Requiring partnerships between NOCs and environment experts ensures that projects running under the Olympic Forest Network are as relevant and effective as can be with regards to nature conservation. Partnering with local experts and organisations also ensures that the Network can have meaningful impact not only on the environment, but also on the local communities where projects are run. Moreover, it facilitates local interest in, and ownership of, environmental work. 

  • Criteria set by the IOC requiring NOC-led projects seeking to be a part of the Olympic Forest Network “to be developed and implemented in collaboration with relevant experts and authorities”.
  • Local organisations’ environmental knowledge and expertise.
  • Interest of local environmental organisations in the (communications and engagement) potential of the Olympic Movement.

Providing basic standards and guidelines helped the NOCs find the right partners and (business) solutions locally. Thanks to this local approach, NOCs could be guided by national/local experts to find the best solution in terms of added value for ecosystems and local communities.

Building block 3 – Embracing local expertise, governance, and ownership of projects

While following the direction and guidance of the IOC, NOCs are best placed to design and implement projects complying with the IOC’s global standards at local level. This means that the IOC can support and promote environmental projects, while benefiting from expertise that the NOCs can provide in the local context through. This implementation method not only promotes local solutions to global problems, but also increases local ownership, empowers local communities, and promotes cooperation between sports, local environmental groups and indigenous peoples.  

In Brazil, for example, the “Brazil Olympic Committee Olympic Forest” project aims to restore a damaged part of the Tefé National Forest in the Amazon and is executed together with the Mamirauá Institute of Sustainable Development. Besides restoration, the project’s objective is to reinforce the sustainable use of the forest by the local community through planting key species such as Brazilian chestnut and açaí or providing training to the local community. 

Training and upskilling of local communities (on mangrove planting/rehabilitation) is one of the main objectives also of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee’s “Love Your Coast Project” where they aim to train “Love Your Coast Champions”, who are to lead small conservation projects in their communities

As leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC is responsible for coordinating relations and actions of all members of the Olympic Movement, including the National Olympic Committees. This ensures that projects and actions can be designed and implemented according to consistent regulations or guidelines, enabling continuity and best practice across the Olympic Movement’s environmental activities. 

While it was important to set up general criteria that all projects would need to comply with to ensure consistency and high quality, providing NOCs with the flexibility to reflect local context and its particular risks and opportunities in how they approach the criteria proved to be equally vital.