Published at 26/09/2023

Different sectors of the government and partners met to select the priority components of coastal and marine biodiversity in the northern Mozambique Channel, in order to draw up technical guidelines for mitigating impacts on the oil and gas sector.

The National Directorate for the Environment (DINAB), in partnership with the COMBO+ Programme [led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in coordination with the Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND)], as part of the initiative for Integrated Management of Marine and Coastal Resources in the North of the Mozambique Channel (NoCaMo), and Fauna & Flora (FF), held a seminar on 12 September 2023 in the city of Maputo. The seminar focused on the selection of priority components of the coastal and marine biodiversity of the Northern Mozambique Channel with the participation of 41 technicians from different sectors including government, academia, local NGOs and the private sector. These priority components will be considered for the development of best practice guidelines for their protection of biodiversity within the Northern Mozambique Channel, in relation to oil and gas development.

The Northern Mozambique Channel is one of the richest regions in the world in terms of biodiversity. The condition of these critical ecosystems are in decline due to several combined factors, including the extractive industry (including the natural gas and oil recently discovered in the region). In this context, the NoCaMo initiative, funded by the French Environment Fund (FFEM), aims to ensure that the high biodiversity of the Northern Mozambique Channel (e.g. coral reefs, seagrass, mangrove ecosystems) is preserved. In the case of Mozambique, the NoCaMo initiative is considered an extension of the COMBO+ Programme, to promote good mitigation practices in the marine environment and runs until the end of 2025.

Fauna & Flora (FF) is collaborating with WCS on the development of technical guidelines for biodiversity features. Selection of the features will be based off of scientific review and local consultation with marine experts. This exercise will be extremely useful for the preparation and review of environmental impact assessments and in maritime spatial planning, especially for activities related to oil and gas initiatives in Mozambique’s North Channel. The second phase of the project will involve capacity building for local authorities, to ensure effective implementation can be achieved as oil & gas development continues to grow in the region.

It is important to note that this seminar is part of a series of seminars being held in each of the NoCaMo countries to inform a final decision on which priority elements will be used to develop mitigation guidelines at regional level.