At least 350,000 people in the five Eastern African countries sharing the Western Indian Ocean Coastline are beneficiaries in the newly launched Regenerative Seascapes for People, Planet, and Nature Project.
Among them, there are more than 85,000 other people living along Tanzania’s Indian Ocean shoreline who stand to reap benefits in the marine-oriented community development and environment conservation initiative.
Shortly known as ‘ReSea,’ and recently launched in Tanga, the project which runs between 2023 and 2026 is meant to enhance the physical and socio-economic resilience of 350,000 individuals.
These include Men, Women and the youth living in the coastal communities across Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros, and Mozambique, as well as the Madagascar Island.
The Regenerative Seascapes for People, Planet, and Nature Project is being implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in conjunction with Mission Inclusion, with the support from Global Affairs Canada.
In Tanzania, the flagship project under the Blue Wall initiative is implemented in the Tanga region on the mainland and across the sea onto the Pemba Island in Zanzibar.
The two precincts are mapped within the Tanga–Pemba seascape.
Regenerative Seascapes for People, Planet, and Nature Project runs on a budget of 30 million Canadian Dollars, with the project expected to be executed for over three years from 2023 to early 2026.
According to Dorothy Asuza the ReSea coordinator from Mission Inclusion, the project is implemented in Pangani and Mkinga Districts of Tanga and covers four districts on Pemba Island.
The IUCN Tanzania Country Office Representative, Charles Oluchina, said the conservation of oceans, which is a major component of the ReSea was essentially protecting the earth itself.
“It should be noted that two-thirds of the earth is blue, which means 75 percent of it is made up of oceans,” Oluchina pointed out adding that the importance of preserving the marine environment cannot be over emphasized.
“In Tanzania the oceans harbor important resources including Fisheries, Mangroves, Coral Reefs and spectacular beach marine that hold ample economic potential in the country,” the IUCN Tanzania Country Office Representative maintained.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Zambia, Seychelles and Comoros, Ambassador Kyle Nunas, said his country is fully committed to supporting global climate action and has so far pledged 2.6 billion Canadian Dollars in the initiative.
“Oceans play a vital role mitigating climate change by absorbing carbon gases but the seas are also highly susceptible to negative effects of climate change,” said Ambassador Nunas.
It was revealed during launch that the Project is structured around three core pillars the first being the ‘Blue Planet,’ which aims at improving effective, equitable and gender-responsive conservation of marine protected areas (MPA) and locally managed marine areas (LMMA).
The second pillar is known as ‘Blue Nature,’ which seeks to create an enabling environment for the adoption of Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation.
The third pillar ‘Blue People,’ targets increasing inclusive economic empowerment in nature-based value chains.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Agnes Kisaka Meena said Tanzania was already working to ensure that women benefit from the sea.
Apparently, the country has established a special fisheries gender desk, to address problems faced by women in management of coastal resources.
The Tanga Regional Commissioner, Waziri Kindamba said the Indian Ocean held a lifeline to millions of lives of people in Tanga, Zanzibar and Mombasa.
“Therefore playing with the ocean is like attempting the lives of communities in the area,” said Kindamba.
As a government representative the Regional Commissioner vowed to use every means in his disposal to protect the sea and the Indian Ocean shoreline.
Over 400 kilometers of the Indian Ocean shoreline, comprising four districts and over 80 villages cuts through Tanga, which means the sea was extremely important to the economy and livelihood of the local communities in the region.
This first flagship project in the Western Indian Ocean is funded under the Great Blue Wall initiative.
The project aims to reduce the physical and socioeconomic vulnerability of 350,000 women, men and young people living in coastal communities to the adverse impacts of climate change.
The beneficiaries include 225,000 women as well as 12,500 people in vulnerable and marginalized situations.
The Regenerative Seascapes for People, Climate, and Nature project covers the coastal and marine regions of the West Indian Ocean (WIO) which is mapped in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and the Comoros.
It was observed that biodiversity degradation and fish stock depletion caused in large part by the climate crisis currently threaten coastal communities in the five countries.
Richard Veenstra the Director General of ‘Mission Inclusion’ said ReSea has however been designed to solve the increasing problem of decline of biodiversity which threaten human existence, leading to conflicts rising from pressure on resources.