Establishment of Lake Niassa Reserve | WWF

Establishment of Lake Niassa Reserve

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > Southern Africa > Mozambique


The project seeks to establish a new protected area in and around Lake Niassa that will contribute to the conservation of the diversity, abundance, and ecological integrity of the lake’s physical and biological resources, so that they may be enjoyed and used productively by present and future generations being part of the Northern Mozambique Tourism Programme, under Intermediate Result (IR) 3 “capacity of labor-intensive enterprises increased” of the mission’s Trade and Investment portfolio.

In particular, the project will create an investor-friendly policy and legal framework that will improve conservation while enabling land and property to be made available for tourism investments. The programme objectives include increasing tourism arrivals and expenditure through the promotion of a Northern Mozambique tourism product, attracting investments and creating jobs, building the capacity of local service providers to respond to this expected growth while expanding the quantity and quality of the tourism services and products provided, and preserving the environment.

HIV/AIDS education will be mainstreamed into all project interventions.


This activity will be performed under a USAID direct grant to WWF for the establishment of Lake Niassa Reserve, within the objective of preserving the environment. Lake Niassa is a priority area for tourism investment under the National Tourism Policy.

The WWF biodiversity activity involves a marine reserve on Lake Niassa that will protect its unique ecosystem including the world’s only surviving freshwater corals, over 1,000 species of fish (700 of which are endemic to the lake), as well as a rich bird life.

The creation of Lake Niassa Reserve will also contribute to form the basis for a major tourism industry in Northern Mozambique by appealing to niche market segments interested in diving, bird watching, game fishing and adventure trails, and thus establish the North as an emerging destination. The main government partner for this activity will be the Ministry of the Tourism (MITUR), which will coordinate with the Ministry for Coordination of Environment Affairs (MICOA) and the Ministry of Fisheries.

This grant will be managed directly by USAID, which will be required to approve key personnel and the work plan, and collect and compile indicators of project progress, for inclusion in regular USAID reports including the annual report.

The creation of a national park on Lake Niassa and the hinterland of the lake, will encourage investment in the area, as the regulatory framework which established the park will address some of the major constraints relating to land ownership. In addition, WWF has already started defining the area and is undertaking some of preliminary studies and has a highly successful track record of similar work in the Quirimbas National Park in Cabo Delgado.

The proposed protected area would cover the waters of Lake Niassa and shoreline from Metangula to the Cobwe area, with wildlife areas totaling approximately 100,000+ hectares in the remote Northern and Central areas of Lago District (avoiding the gold-mining areas near Lipilichi Town).

Terrestrial areas will be either reserve proper or a buffer zone, depending on community and stakeholder negotiations.

Key activities to be undertaken are:

1. Establish the Lake Niassa Reserve (LNR).

1.1 Produce a justification document that lays out the scientific, socio-economic, cultural, and historical basis for the declaration of the LNR.
a) Identify and develop project coordination committees (and a government “lead agency”) at provincial and national level. Inception visits by WWF and lead agency representatives.
b) Literature search.
c) Consult with partners and stakeholders; consult with Government of Mozambique (GoM) (relevant departments).
d) Conduct initial survey visit and follow up visits where necessary.
e) Produce justification focument.

1.2 Elaboration (in 3 phases) of a General Management Plan (with associated zoning plan) supported by stakeholders at all levels, from village level up to national level.
a) Phase 1. Mobilization.
- Stakeholder consultations about problems and possibilities of the LNR area.
- Assessments to identify key management problems and constraints.
- Environmental education about fish life cycles, trends and projects of resource exhaustion in the lake, etc.
b) Phase 2. Information gathering.
- Collect existing data, including evaluation of the legislative environment.
- Exchange visits with Quirimbas National Park.
- Stakeholder (government, village, investor, etc) information exchange, based on existing scientific data and local knowledge of the area.
c) Phase 3. Planning.
- Collect management options and ideas.
- WWF and lead agency representative draft General Management Plan, with consultant support where necessary.
- Circulate draft and comments.
- Divulge draft plan at village level, collect feedback.
- Develop second draft General Management Plan.

1.3 Communities show their support for the plan during community consultations, held and documented in accordance with Mozambican Land Law.
a) Community consultations documented by “Autos de Consulta Comunitária” (as mandated by the Land Law with the presence of the SPGC (Surveyor’s Department) in affected villages (approximately 25).

1.4 Government officials at district, provincial, and national level document their support for the plan via “Pareceres” (official opinions); tourism investors show their support for the plan via letters of support and expressions of interest.
a) Initial consultations with relevant officials.
b) Hold district-level stakeholders’ seminar, with minutes and an official opinion (“Parecer”) issued by the District Administrator.
c) Provincial-level harmonization committee meetings and stakeholders’ seminar, with minutes and an official opinion (“Parecer”) issued by the Provincial Governor, and letters of support from investors.
d) National-level harmonization meetings and stakeholders seminar.
e) Lobbying and publicity.

2. Enhance organizational and democratic capacity of community-based organizations and traditional/religious structures to resolve developmental and resource management issues by development of community ranger teams, via democratic selection at village level.

2.1 Ranger team organized, trained, and officially recognized in writing by lead agency (selection of candidates by local communities).

2.2 Initial training and deployment.

2.3 Form community ranger team (to be trained at the Wildlife College in Gorongosa) and volunteer.

2.4 Official recognition; credentials issued by Government.

2.5 Performance evaluation after probationary period; qualifying candidates sent to Gorongosa Training Centre (in second phase of the project) to be trained as rangers and incorporated into future LNR staff.

3. LNR project has the necessary equipment and infrastructure to function for 2 years.

3.1 Equip community guards.

3.2 Purchase one improved traditional boat to support these.

3.3 Purchase one 4x4 vehicle.

3.4 Equip a temporary office in Metangula.

3.5 Note that agreements are already in place with the Navy (Marinha de Guerra) to use their boats that are currently in Metangula.


1) Promote and develop a sustainable tourism industry in Northern Mozambique.

2) Supporting policy changes which will make the investment environment conducive to the private sector.

3) Ensure that these happen in an inclusive and environmentally sound manner.


In implementing the establishment of the Lake Niassa Reserve, the grantee will be required to address the concerns identified in the gender, environmental and biodiversity analyses of the Activity Approval Document which is the result of the first stage of this design/implement contract.

Team composition and estimated level of effort

The contractor will propose a list and detailed scope of work for qualified key personnel and the level of effort adequate to implement the establishment of LNR.

Monitoring and evaluating performance

The principal means of monitoring and evaluating the grantee’s performance under this award will be written twice-yearly reports by the grantee, followed by meetings at USAID offices in Maputo, Mozambique. The grantee’s reports should describe progress, accomplishments, set-backs, schedule, budget and other programme implementation issues for all the tasks and activities constant in this Statement of Work (SOW).

If the grantee and USAID/Mozambique decide that revisions or clarifications to the programme description are warranted, the grantee will fully describe that decision in writing for inclusion in project administration files.

The grantee will also submit copies of all reports prepared under this award to the Cognizant Technical Officer.

On an occasional basis, the grantee and USAID/Mozambique will conduct joint field visits for the purpose of monitoring progress and performance under this award. Schedule, transportation, logistics and other arrangements for these field visits will be made jointly.


The planned investment of USD 300,000 in the establishment of Lake Niassa Reserve, under the Northern Mozambique Tourism Project will have a large multiplier effect on the local, regional, and national economy. The programme will contribute to leverage major private investments into hotels and resort facilities, transportation and air transport industries in the 3 provinces, increase visitor arrivals and expenditures in both urban and rural economies, create jobs and incomes, expand the tax base for local and provincial authorities, and increase opportunities for employment especially for women. Tourism related businesses will be spawned in the rural sector. Real estate properties will be restored and valorized. The activities under this project will work to enhance Mozambique’s export earnings and positively impact on its balance of payments.

By the end of this two-year project the following results will have been achieved by the grantee:

- Lake Niassa Reserve documents are prepared and sent to national level for approval on the basis of well-prepared documents and widespread community support.

- Communities via their guard network are able to reduce damage to their aquatic resources, specifically through the declaration of no-take zones, reduction in damaging fishing arts, and the use of temporal and spatial closures to protect fishing grounds. At least 10 communities will implement at least one protective measure.

- Ecosystem projection throughout the park and livelihoods programme design in adjacent communities begin as soon as possible to halt erosion/destruction of habitats, species populations, and human livelihoods.

These results will contribute for the overall objectives and results of the Northern Mozambique Tourism Programme, in particular for:

- The Arc Forum established and institutionalized as a private-public-community stakeholder vehicle for tourism development and promotion in Northern Mozambique.

- Hotel investments including a major international brand attracted to the Arc and rooms offering 3-5 star rating increased by 20% from current level of 300.

- Destination economies will be diversified, while related development of skills and entrepreneurial capacity will reduce vulnerability and alleviate poverty.

- International leisure tourist arrivals to the Northern Arc currently estimated at 10% of the national total, increased to 15%.

- Average hotel occupancies increased from 35% to 50%.

- An average of 35,000 tourists visits the North each year.

- The number of 3-5 star hotel rooms increased from the current level of about 300 to around 500.

- Direct and indirect employment in the tourism business increased by 50%.

- Average length of stay of tourists in the Northern Arc will have increased to 7 days.

- Quality of services in hotels, restaurants, night clubs and attractions would have improved and revenues increased by 15%.

- Mozambique’s international tourism receipts increased by 50%, from the present level of USD 106 million in tourism-generated income.

- Tourism-related small, medium and micro-enterprises created in the areas of conservation construction, tour operations, rentals, horticultural supplies, retail, music and the arts.

- Effective and vibrant tourism trade associations will exist in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa.

- Significant domestic tourism travel by middle and upper income Mozambicans will be generated to the Arc, redistributing income to rural areas, and promoting a sense of understanding and national unity.

The grantee will prepare a plan addressing all indicators to track and to monitor the impact of the LNR establishment. It will use an evaluation framework that takes a “triple bottom line” approach to measure impact on the basis of specific indicators that include (1) economic impact and measurable increases in revenue, (2) conservation and biodiversity management and education, and (3) social sustainability and measurable community benefits.

USAID/Mozambique will carry out an evaluation of the Northern Mozambique Tourism project including the establishment of Lake Niassa Reserve at the end of the second year. At that time the team will recommend whether to do an internal or an independent evaluation of the programme to measure the project’s success and suggest adjustments.

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