The World Bank is working to improve the management of Bazaruto National Park, an archipelago in central Mozambique, through its new project, MozBio
The World Bank is working to improve the management of Bazaruto National Park, an archipelago in central Mozambique, through its new project, MozBio.
Financed by the Bank-Global Environment Fund, the US$46 million project aims to improve the livelihoods of local residents by tackling the over-exploitation of natural resources and promoting environmental education and conservation agriculture.
It will also work to increase revenue from tourism and ensure the profits benefit locals.
To do this, the Bank is supporting the construction of a community eco-lodge, which will be built with Bank funding and the concessions and infrastructure of which will be owned by the local communities.
It will be a joint venture, co-managed by the local communities and a selected private operator, Far and Wild.
The Bank is also encouraging a change in the way Mozambique’s conservation areas are being managed, ensuring tourism operations are supervised and comply with environmental laws, as well as overhauling the collection of revenue and how it is used to maintain the Park’s infrastructure.
Mozambique’s government has signed a 25-year, renewable partnership agreement with African Parks, an NGO that leads conservation co-management agreements in Africa.
They will provide technical expertise and additional funds to help implement a 5-year business plan for development in the National Park.
Bazaruto was declared a National Park in 1971 and is a marine sanctuary for endangered species like the dugong, the manatee of Africa, of which the only viable population in the world is supported by the archipelago.
It also hosts manta rays, sharks, whales, mangroves and coral reefs.
The area’s 5,000 human residents, however, struggle with limited access to safe water, sanitation, and electricity.
They rely on Bazaruto’s natural resources and tourism industry to sustain their livelihoods.
Made up of 7 communities, 75% of households depend on small scale fishing, followed by crops and harvest resources, like sand oysters, whilst others work as unskilled labourers in the park’s many luxury resorts.
Opportunities for locals in tourism are limited and skilled positions in resorts mostly go to people from the mainland or abroad.
Furthermore, the exploitation of marine resources is leading to wide-scale destruction.
The area suffers from a high rate of by-catch and overfishing, and the destruction of seagrass and coral reefs from anchor damage.
Locals do receive a share of tourism revenue, which incentivises area conservation, but many operators have been granted tourism concessions without having to pay concession fees, which limits the Park’s revenue.
Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles, said: “Nature-based tourism can be an effective tool to promote rural development.
“This venture between a local community and the private sector shows how the Bank can help leverage private financing for sustainable natural resource management and rural development.”
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