Mozambique is home to one of the world’s most diverse hotspots of marine life with 900 species of reef-associated fishes, 400 species of mollusks, 70 species of hard and soft corals, 122 species of sharks and rays, 5 of the 7 species of turtles that exist worldwide, the last viable population of dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean, 740 species of sea and coastal birds, and 2,910 km2 of mangroves. Nurturing these assets are large intact ecosystems, such as the Zambezi River delta, which contains the second largest contiguous mangrove habitat in Africa that provides a nursery for juvenile fish and key marine species⏤the Zambezi mangrove stand has in fact increased in size by around 10% over the past two decades to 37,034 hectares. USAID SPEED has started to support marine conservation efforts in Mozambique.
Mozambique has a unique geography with rich biodiversity, making certain landscapes ideal for sustainable nature and wildlife-based tourism and conservation oriented businesses. The country´s biodiversity and conservation areas network have been generating income for the national economy and the local communities, albeit not at the expected levels, in large part due to limited participation of the private sector in overall wildlife management and development of associated businesses. Safari operators in Mozambique require more strategic support to improve the enabling environment for fair and competitive business that furthers conservation goals. Chief underlying conditions include a weak environmental policy and regulatory framework and poor law enforcement. Awareness is increasing on the need to protect emblematic species, and the recent revision of the conservation law strengthens efforts to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking. Still, far greater action and community engagement are required.
SPEED+ will focus on reforms to meet international management standards and commitments, as well as facilitate improvements in the enabling environment to conserve biodiversity through: (1)strengthening biodiversity conservation policies; (2) supporting implementation of regulations and policies, (3) promoting awareness of biodiversity and conservation activities; (4) supporting more effective governance and management of conservation areas, and (5)enhancing the business environment for Eco-tourism and wildlife-based tourism.