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WASHINGTON, November 18, 2014 — The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$40 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to support the implementation of the Government of Mozambique’s Conservation Areas for Biodiversity and Development Project, known as Mozbio. This program benefits from an additional US$6.3 million grant provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Mozambique’s Conservation Areas (CAs) are made of diverse habitats that include a coastline with some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world. The country possesses over 5,500 plant species, 222 mammal and 600 bird species. Despite such a rich biodiversity, poverty rates are extremely high across the population living within and around CAs, and the level of revenues from and investments to conservation related tourism is very low.
The Mozbio Project will strengthen the way CAs are protected and improve the lives of communities in and around the area through activities that establish efficient management and promote tourism, as well as create jobs, business opportunities and other sustainable livelihood efforts that focus on conservation and biodiversity.
“We want to help the country unleash the economic potential of conservation and tourism as means to foster sustainable poverty alleviation,” said Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros. “Integrated conservation development activities, such as conservation agriculture or sustainable forestry (including harvesting of non-timber forest products), as well as ecotourism create incentives for conservation among local communities and local governments, which in turn reduces the pressure on natural resources.”
The MozBio Project will address some of the most pressing challenges to CAs management, including strengthening institutional and policy framework for conservation, improving CAs management, particularly for marine CAs which has the greatest tourism potential, as well as broadening the livelihood options to communities living in and around the CAs. The project serves as a platform to address threats to conservation of Mozambique’s natural capital, promote nature-based tourism growth, integrated landscape management, and reducing high poverty levels around CAs.
“I’m happy we reached such an important milestone in this project life-cycle,” said Mr. Soto, the head of National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC). “This four-year project focuses on reducing rural poverty through improved schemes to share benefits from conservation and nature based-tourism to communities, increase conservation-related job creation and business opportunities in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors; and promote alternative livelihood activities that encourage communities to reduce destructive practices, such as poaching or deforestation”
The project will also promote innovative mechanisms to ensure sustainable financing of CAs, including the design and capitalization of an endowment fund to attract financing from different sectors (public, private, etc.): the so-called Biofund (Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity). The project will also bring positive social and environmental benefits at local, national and global levels. It is estimated that over 11,200 households (around 56,000 people) will benefit directly from the project. At the national level, the government will benefit through a stronger institutional framework for conservation and tourism promotion, as well as tax revenues from increased tourism activities around CAs. Protecting large areas of land has environmental benefits at the global level, both in terms of globally-important terrestrial and marine biodiversity and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions given CAs’ role in protecting forests and other carbon-rich habitats (such as wetlands and mangroves) from deforestation and degradation.
This project supports the GoM poverty reduction strategy and contributes to the World Bank Country Partnership Strategy for Mozambique (2012-15), which has an overarching goal of promoting broad-based, inclusive, and pro-poor growth, and it is consistent with GEF strategies and policies to promote biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.