WWF in Mozambique

About WWF Mozambique

WWF opened its office in Mozambique in 2001. Since then, WWF has identified 35 outstanding places for its direct action and focus, including the Coastal East Africa and Miombo Eco region, both encompassing Mozambique.

To fulfill its goal, WWF Mozambique concentrates its actions on high priority conservation targets:


WWF Priority land and seascapes in Mozambique

WWF conserves the habitats and species through strong field action focusing on pro-poor conservation, community based natural resource management, effective conservation area management, land use planning, law enforcement, reducing illegal trade and creating climate resilience and adaptation. Actions in the land/seascapes will be assisted by national cross cutting initiatives addressing
  • The Rovuma Landscape

Northern Mozambique and Southern Tanzania embraces outstanding parts of four WWF Global Eco regions: the Coastal Forest, Mangroves, Eastern Africa Marine Ecoregion, and Miombo Woodlands

A landscape with the largest unfragmented miombo woodland and coastal forest habitats remaining in Africa is home to the largest population of African elephant in East Africa, and the second largest on the continent. Recent studies by Kew Gardens and IIAM of the coastal forests in Mozambique discovered at least 26 new species of plants and 15 new species of animals, together with other rare animals and plants that are otherwise known only in southern Tanzania.  The studies also show that this habitat has lost already 80% of their original natural habitat area. Large economic developments including extractive mining  and industrial agriculture  is taking the area to extraordinary transformation that could either lead to ecological and social degradation seen elsewhere in Africa, exacerbated by climate change, or a more secure future through protection, management, and sustainable use of the unique natural assets now at risk.   WWF’s biggest goal is to maintain the connectivity of the Miombo and coastal forests to preserve vital ecosystem services and goods for human life including habitats for some of the last free roaming elephants, wild dogs, rhinos and other. With the current international upsurge in illegal trade, attention is especially on reducing ivory poaching and illegal timber trade though joint transborder action involving governments, private sector and NGO’s of both countries, strengthening community based natural resource management approaches in biodiversity corridors, capacity building, law enforcement and creating climate change resilience.

·         The  Quirimbas-Mtwarra Corridor – The Quirimbas National Park

…is the youngest national park in Mozambique. The process of its designation was strongly assisted by WWF and culminated in the park’s declaration on the 4th July 2002. Quirimbas is a globally outstanding biodiversity area covering 7.500km2 including 1.522km2 of marine habitat that encompasses the Quirimbas Archipelago with its magnificent coral reefs, islands, mangroves and abundant marine life including all 5 protected marine turtles.  The park is unique as it is home to 135,000 residents, which agreed to the declaration of the park with the aim to conserve biodiversity for sustainable use and ensure benefits now and in future for its residents, the local community.
Thanks to the longstanding support of AFD and FFEM, WWF has worked relentlessly to establish and develop the Park, its conservation actions and its management structure. Since 2010 WWF is providing technical assistance to the park’s structure for efficient administrative and financial management as well as the implementation of the management plan. This includes capacity building and facilitation of sustainable practices for marine and terrestrial resources to improve livelihoods as well as strengthening community structures and environmental education.

  • The Primeiras & Segundas Arquipélago

…is a chain of 10 pristine coral islands stretching 150 km along the coast of Nampula and Zambezia provinces. This globally important area for marine biodiversity is one of the most important places for sea turtle reproduction in the western Indian Ocean as well as home to migrating whales, dolphins and rare, migratory bird species.

The area is crucial for Mozambique economy as it is also part of the world’s largest wild prawn fishery. However, the Primeiras and Segundas are under significant threat. Overfishing from industrial and artisanal fisheries, along with the increasing impacts of climate change, have taken their toll. Coral reefs are already showing signs of bleaching and overfishing has resulted in populations of keystone species such as herbivores, which prevent algae from overpowering coral reefs, to plummet. The net result of all this pressure is a globally important marine environment on the verge of collapse.

In 2005 WWF began to work with communities, government and other NGOs to advocate for the development of management systems for the sustainable use of natural resources and the declaration of a marine reserve. In 2008 CARE and WWF joined forces in an Alliance with the aim to simultaneously provide both conservation and development outcomes to poor communities and to work with government to prepare for the establishment of a marine partial reserve.

The 10 year visions of WWF-CARE Alliance for the area is: a landscape in which marine and terrestrial ecosystems are thriving and the poor who depend on them have better lives and broader options, and are active participants in a governance framework that ensures that natural resources are managed for both current and future generations.

The Alliance’s current activities being implemented are support to government led law enforcement, community-based forestry and fisheries, community land titling, monitoring of globally important species such as marine turtles and migratory bird species, sustainable agriculture, markets and value chains, institutional development, governance, advocacy and planning.

  • WWF Mozambique Freshwater program

…focuses on the conservation of the biodiversity of Lake Niassa and the lower Zambezi basin to including the Delta

  • Lake Niassa

…in an unprecedented double-declaration on 26th April 2011 the government designated the entire Mozambican portion of Lake Niassa as a Wetland of International Importance- Ramsar Site including the designation of 150Km2 as a partial reserve under national legislation. Since 2004 WWF was able to strongly support these efforts with financial assistance from USAID and The Coca Cola foundation. WWF facilitated the organization of fishers communities and their capacity building to reduce illegal fishing practices, create alternative income generating activities and implement environmental education to protect the untouched and unrivaled freshwater biodiversity of the Lake including freshwater reefs and approxm. 700 endemic fish species, esp. cichlids.

  • The Zambezi delta

…Mozambique’s first Ramsar site, declared in 2003, its 11,324 km² includes the highest concentration of conservation areas in Mozambique: the Marromeu national reserve, four extensive safari hunting areas and two Forestry reserves, as well as numerous forestry concessions. The Delta has the largest pristine mangrove stands in eastern Africa and its vast wetlands are home to one of the densest populations of buffalo on the continent, wide ranging species such as African elephant and the endangered wild dog and unique population of “Selous” zenbra. It houses the largest concentration of waterbirds in Mozambique, including Endangered Grey Crowned Crane, Vulnerable Wattled Crane, and the major breeding colony of Great White Pelican in southern Africa.

The Delta is under threat from drying out due to the regulation of Zambezi river flow since 1978 by the Caborra Bassa Dam. Other planned developments (four more dams, dredging for coal barging, irrigation schemes…) will further impact the ecosystem. Since 2007, WWF’s field projects implemented CBNRM initiatives in the delta as well as assisted the government to develop a holistic, multi stakeholder Ramsar site management plan.

  • The Marine program

…is supporting the conservation of marine habitats and biodiversity in priority places such as the Quirimbas National Park, Bazaruto Archipelago and the Primeiras & Segundas Archipelago. To support management decisions, it implements scientific research and monitoring of dugongs, turtles nesting sites, artisanal fishing, coral reefs, turtle tagging as well as marine sanctuaries development and monitoring. With its policy and advocacy work at central government levels, the marine program supports the development of sustainable fisheries for instance via the Marine stewardship certification for wild caught shrimp.

·         The Bazaruto seascape

…home to the last viable dugong population of the Western Indian ocean, the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park has been a major focus of WWF’s efforts since the late 1997. WWF facilitated the  enlargement of the Park’s limits to include all fife of the Archipelago islands, the establishment of the first park’s management structure, the development of its management plan and setting up of important community development and capacity building programs to reduce illegal fishing practices and catch of marine protected species such as turtles and dugongs. WWF has facilitated the development of fishers associations and their participation in biological resource monitoring to inform management as well as income generating activities such as carpentry, sewing, field guiding.

  • Natural Resource Governance

Ensuring that decisions for the sustainable development of a country are environmentally and socially just starts at the top levels of governments and involves actions from the whole society. Within its new governance program WWF strengthens the civil society coalition to influence the extractive industry developments, facilitates the voice of the local communities in the debate, influences Mozambique’s adherence to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. WWF provides/facilitates expert technical opinions to government and stakeholders like on the controversial dredging of the Zambezi River for coal barging and the strategic environmental assessment of the Zambezi in general. 

In 2011 WWF actively participated in the development of the Conservation law that seeks to implement the conservation policy approved in 2009.

  • The Forest Program – Responsible Trade and Sustainable Management of forests

…focuses on the conservation of unfragmented habitats for wildlife species, sustainable management practices of forest resources and reduction of human footprint on timber resources in Mozambique.

Approximately 78% of Mozambique total land area is covered by native forests. Of this about 20 Mill hectares are considered potential for production forest and a total of 8.5 Mill hectares are located in conservation areas. The extensive Miombo forests in the North and Center of Mozambique harbor spectacular wildlife and whilst large mammal abundance and range has reduced over the past 40 years, Mozambique’s elephant population is in excess of 22,000 animals and the north of the country still harbors the full range of wildlife historically known to have occurred there, including the endemic Johnston’s wildebeest, Bohm’s zebra and Roosevelt’s sable, as well as hartebeest, wild dog, lion and leopard.

Miombo is also home to about 80% of the local population who derive their survival from slash and burn agriculture and other use forest products and its wildlife. This makes the local communities the main stewards of the forests.

The threats to Mozambique’s forests are many and complex including the lack of capacity and strength of government institutions to control and guide sustainable forest development and exploration, there is widespread international criminalization of illegal timber and wildlife extraction, large scale developments without multi sectorial coordination and a lack of a common vision or rural development that ensures communities take on their responsibilities yet receive benefits.

The WWF’s forest program is addressing the threats in many ways including trans-boundary cooperation between Tanzania and Mozambique but also with China to reduce illegal trade of timber and wildlife. We advocate for more and stronger community involvement through CBNRM community initiatives like the Chipanje Chetu program, the development of the Chiguinhene FSC community forest concession in Manica, FSC standard development and expansion. In 2011, WWF provided financial and technical support for the revision of the national forestry & wildlife legislation.

  • Sustainable financing for the conservation of biodiversity

WWF’s efforts are focusing  on establishing a range of new and adapted mechanisms of alternative funding sources in Mozambique which can reduce the current funding gap for conservation area management of approximately 4 Mill USD per annum. These new alternatives include Biodiversity offsets for major developments, REDD and other carbon finance initiatives and last but not least Mozambique’s first Conservation area Trustfund, Biofund.

Since 2009 and with strong support from AFD, the German government and World Bank, WWF, in cooperation with the Mozambican government worked to establish the first Conservation area Trustfund in Mozambique, the Biofund, officially created on 9. August 2011. Biofund mission is to: support the conservation of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources, including the consolidation of the national system of conservation areas.

  • Clean Energy initiatives

WWF aims at a better integration of environmental concerns and sustainable low carbon energy options considered by the government as part of a more sustainable energy sector development. Being a relatively new initiative, WWF’s efforts currently concentrate on creating strong relationships and dialogue with the government of Mozambique, private energy providers and civil society to advocate green energy development pathways. Some low carbon technologies are not competitive in terms of costs per produced unit of energy, though conventional cost estimates do not internalize current and future environmental costs related to GHG emissions. WWF aims to increase awareness of the various options and how these can be realized without potential extra burden of developing such resources. One of WWF’s main roles is to build the capacity of CSO’s to enable them to play a more active role in the energy sector development process.

  • Climate change and REDD

To enable informed decision making and correct guidance for the natural resource management sector as well as adaptation of local community’s livelihoods, WWF Mozambique will implement a series studies into the local effects and impacts of climate change predictions (downscaling) for its priority landscapes such as Quirimbas National park and the Rovuma landscape. Such information will be an important tool for assessing current and planned actions in conservation but also of the general development planned for Mozambique and may allow timely adaptation. WWF will streamline climate change proofing of its projects until 2015.

WWF has been actively participating in the development of the national REDD strategy and is currently developing a series of pilot projects in the Zambezi delta (mangroves) and the Rovuma landscape (Quirimbas NP). By 2015 WWF aims to have at least 2 REDD projects functioning

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