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. 
Business and Technical Capacity Development

Building resilience of the agricultural sector against the effects of meteorological variations includes building the resilience of small businesses along the value chains which use the produce from agricultural production.  Through the Business Capacity Development measure, two women-only local agro-processing groups which process local produce for the local and national market, benefitted from theoretical lectures and hands-on exercises on crucial business aspects (costs, revenues, new product ideas, design, marketing and the management of their business) so they could apply the knowledge gained to improve the quality of their decision making.  The core topics addressed during the training were:  Entrepreneurship Essentials, Introduction to Marketing; Basic Book-Keeping Principles; Essential Costing Practices; Office Administration, financial education, business management and investment-driven market expansion and borrowing.

Both groups acknowledged that they did need to improve their operations to achieve business success as their ability to improve sales relies on their being able to overcome hindrances in their daily operations. The capacity building exercise was therefore an opportunity for them to gain skills to help overcome these challenges.   

While these activities assisted the partners in facing, in a practical manner, technical and implementation challenges they would face in their operations there is also need for training in interpersonal engagement eg. Effective communication, conflict resolution, management and other soft skills critical for effectively managing the interpersonal components of business management. 

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. 

Direct partnerships for institutional anchoring of hygiene and quality standards

In addition to the direct actors at the operational level, institutional decision-makers, independent quality offices, certification bodies and research institutions key actors to implement quality assurance of fish products on a national scale. The complexity of the value chain, which interferes with the traceability of the product, and the significant geographical distances between fish producers and consumers present a substantial challenge in maintaining the quality of fish. Therefore, it is difficult to trace back the product's source when spoiled or inferior fish reaches the consumers.

Fish production and distribution are conducted both formally (e.g. through organized cooperatives) and informally by individuals. In most developing countries, the fish value chain predominantly follows an informal market system with limited quality management and traceability systems for fish. In the absence of traceability, there are concerns about trust and transparency in the marketing and consumption of fish in terms of the quality, food safety and price of products, which ultimately affects both consumers and fish sellers.

Direct partnerships with local food inspection authorities can be promoted to enable compliance with quality and hygiene standards to be checked throughout the value chain and to address the issue of traceability. On the other hand, non-compliance goes hand in hand with discarding spoiled fish from the market. The discard is an efficient incentive to adhere to the implementation of quality standards, because it is immediately accompanied by a loss of income for the fisherman or trader.

A hygiene and quality control plan – developed jointly with local inspection authorities- helps to guarantee regular sampling and analysis of fishery and aquaculture products. The control measures must target the complete value chain e.g. boats, production facilities, means of transportation, processing plants as well as distribution and sales points and be carried out systematically. This is only possible if all the necessary laboratory and health testing equipment is available and can be used by local staff. Training and exchange trips to comparable institutions in other countries improve the employees' ability to handle new equipment and technologies and consolidate their knowledge of different analytical methods and processes of hygiene inspections.

Implementation experiences should be regularly discussed with political decision-makers, associations and value chain actors. To secure efforts sustainably, it is important to integrate the costs of the sampling and analysing into the annual financial plans of the inspection authorities and to acquire financial contributions for the long-term. Clearing out financial obstacles is more likely to be successful if the hygiene and quality control plan is in line with local political strategies.

In order to improve the traceability and control of fishery and aquaculture products, so-called first sale certificates can be introduced by local inspection bodies. They should be issued at the most important landing or production points and contain information on the species, the origin of the product, the seller and the destination. Digital certificates are suitable for registering the above-mentioned information directly at the first sales at the production and landing points and should be monitored centrally. This facilitates the authorities’ work and saves resources. 

To further enhance compliance of the value-chain actors with hygiene and quality standards, action plans can be developed in direct cooperation with fish markets, fish auction halls and other important points of sale. The action plan must set out the measures being planned, a timetable, the financial and material resources required and a monitoring and evaluation system for ensuring the envisioned hygiene and quality standards.

Organizational and procedural measures may include: a commitment by the management of these trading centers to take responsibility for the hygiene and quality of fishery products, an adapted organizational chart for better control of the hygiene and quality of products, a charter for an extended committee to support the implementation of the action plan and/or a code of good hygiene practices for the employees of the respective entity.

In addition, mobile applications can help to connect information from both sides. For example, the direct actors in the value chain can receive information on hygiene and quality requirements of the fish market or the procedure of getting a first sale certificate. At the same time the fish market can register stands and actors and provide an overview for hygiene inspectors where and when to perform quality inspections. At the same time, an app can simplify the exchange of best practice guidelines, training materials, as well as other communication products interesting for the sector (advertisements, recipe videos, etc.).

Promoting good hygiene and quality practices along the value chain

To ensure quality and safety in the fish value chain, from catch to consumer, it's vital to consider all steps of the value chain due to potential food safety risks. Implementing hygiene and quality trainings, introducing first sale certificates, and establishing control plans for state institutions are key interventions. A thorough value chain analysis is crucial for identifying improvement areas and require visits to actors and review of hygiene regulations. Based on this analysis, targeted interventions can be identified, ranging from policy to practical actions, involving research enhancement, regulatory support, and capacity development.

The direct actors in the value chain are fishermen, retailers, traders, transporters, warehouse workers and suppliers who are involved in the production, processing, delivery or sale of a product to the consumer. They are the first point of contact when it comes to offering the consumer a safe product of high quality. Accordingly, they represent the target group that needs to be informed about the hygienic handling of products and the aspects of production, storage and transportation deteriorating quality. The implementation of a training plan can strengthen knowledge about hygiene, quality and control practices for the various steps of the value chain.

With so many different actors, there are certain topics that are only important to some while other topics are clearly important for everyone: raising awareness of biochemical processes such as microbes, knowledge about food-borne infections and diseases, maintaining personal hygiene at the workplace, recognizing fresh and spoilt products, using ice to uphold the cold chain or cleaning and disinfecting the workplace and equipment. However, while fishermen, are primarily concerned with the accurate storage and immediate cooling to prevent the deterioration of their catch, processors focus more on the hygienic handling of the processing equipment. Accordingly, it is essential to adapt learning content and teaching methods to the different actors along the value chain, like demonstrations of storage and cooling systems on the fishing boats, or on-the-job trainings concerning proper handling of processing equipment.

Furthermore, didactics must be developed that take into account the experience of fisheries and aquaculture experts. In the context of high illiteracy diagrams, drawings and photographs can be used. Also, the language must be adapted to the target group. In addition, training content can be gathered and summarized in small booklets e.g. guidelines that provide the actors with a long-term option to revise training contents. Here, as with the training content, it is advantageous to adapt the guidelines to the different actors in the value chain, e.g. one guide for fishing, another for processing and so on. By doing this, value chain actors can be addressed directly and do not loose their learning ambition by going through learning content that does not fully affect their work. Finally, the dissemination of the guidelines should be adapted to the local context; not every country has the same media capacities but in addition to handing out printed versions, apps proofed to be a way to spread training contents easily. 

To ensure that the theoretical hygiene and quality trainings become actual practice, it's essential to discuss and confirm understanding with trainees. Using short feedback forms and coaching loops post-training help verify and further improve learning and communication effectiveness. Additionally, evaluating knowledge application, such as willingness to invest in ice for fish storage, is key. Highlighting the long-term benefits, like quality improvement and potential for higher prices, despite initial costs, is crucial for convincing participants of the value.

In addition to understanding, the implementation of training content must also be taken into account. It is important to find out at an early stage which hygiene practices are feasible in the local context. If the purchase price of ice does not justify the additional benefit of fresh quality, no trainee will adhere to the training content. To stay with the example of ice, the question also arises as to whether the necessary infrastructure is in place: are there ice producers, operational cold chains and the necessary equipment? Next to the spread of misinformation, the greatest danger in communicating training content lies in conveying messages that simply cannot be implemented by the local trainees, as they do not have the means to do so or the supporting infrastructure is just too unstable. 

Next to the post-training feedback the effectiveness of the training can be assessed through a second follow-up survey, reflecting on key elements of its content. The timing between these evaluations varies with the topic; for instance, 3-6 months may be sufficient to review acceptance to personal hygiene practices, such as handwashing at work. However, evaluating changes like the use of ice for fish storage on boats might require up to a year, accounting for off-seasons and fishing periods. Even if evaluations are time-consuming, they are crucial to revise, adapt and further develop training materials to meet the needs of the participants.

In terms of the capacity development approach, a training-of-trainers strategy can be implemented in the training plan. Training local knowledge brokers like chairmen of fishing or trading associations or market supervisors in the field of hygiene and quality can have a lasting effect in anchoring this knowledge within partnering institutions and in generating spill-over effects through word of mouth at regional level. Sensitising consumers and buyers are also crucial, to understand the importance of fresh fish. Hardly anyone will take on additional work and costs to create a quality product that is not demanded.

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 
Choose simple, efficient, and replicable local technology

We identified an efficient technology that can be replicated by the local community members