Published at 30/07/2019

Experience Exchange Between Mozambique and Madagascar on the Implementaiton of Biodiversity Offsets

BIOFUND under the Mozbio 2 Project in partnership with the COMBO Project and the Government of Madagascar held from 7 to 14 July 2019 in the cities of Andasibe and Antananarivo in Madagascar an exchange experience visit on biodiversity offsets with the goal of achieving “no Net biodiversity loss” at the level of development projects.

Biodiversity offsets aim to compensate negative environmental impacts that may result from development projects, particularly from the extractive industry.

The 7-day visit to Madagascar aimed at visiting the Ambatovy mine and promote the exchange of experience and knowledge between representatives of the countries represented. Around 25 participants attended the visit, including members of the government of the environmental sector, conservation areas, mining and oil, private and public environmental funds and private sector.

Madagascar is currently one of the African countries with a largest experience in implementing biodiversity offsets, as it has biodiversity offset projects implemented voluntarily by the country’s two leading mining companies, Ambatovy (one of the largest large tonnage and long-life miners for nickel and cobalt mining in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region) and Qit Madagascar Mineral – QMM (ilmenite and zircon mining from heavy sand extraction with a 40-year operational plan).

The exchange of experiences featured a number of workshops including Governance, Policy and Law workshops to minimize the impact on biodiversity in Africa: present and future, Discussion on the objectives of the COMBO Project, Implementation of the Mitigation Hierarchy in Madagascar: Visit from Ambatovy mine field, Discussion on guidelines for implementing the mitigation hierarchy: case of Mozambique and mechanisms for collaboration and funding for the implementation of biodiversity offsets.

This activity fits in with the objectives of the COMBO Project to support Governments, the private sector and civil society in Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda and Guinea to support each country’s policies and capacity to reconcile economic development and biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. In this context, BIOFUND and the COMBO Project have been collaborating to promote learning experiences between the COMBO Project implementing countries in the implementation of the mitigation hierarchy, and this trip was followed by an exchange of experiences trip held in Mozambique, with the participation of Madagascar and Uganda Environmental funds, Government representatives from Mozambique and Madagascar on biodiversity offsets thematic area.

This visit to Madagascar has resulted in the recognition of the relevance of experiences exchange trips in the promotion of knowledge and consolidation of lessons learned about on the implementation of this concept in the context of each country. This meeting emphasized the relevance of the COMBO Project as well as the role of environmental funds in financing and monitoring biodiversity offset projects, an example already in place in Madagascar.

The above-mentioned initiatives for sharing experiences are in line with the recommendations of CAFÉ – African Environment Fund Consortium where countries exploring offsets schemes should promote training and learning opportunities to strengthen collaboration between the Environmental Funds through this network.