Published on Monday, 13 October 2014 09:11
Written by Tantely
Marine spatial planning (MSP) – a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives (Ehler & Douvere 2010) – is increasingly considered an operational approach to help make marine and coastal ecosystem-based management a reality. Tools and technical approaches, including “Systematic Conservation Planning” (Ardron, J.A., Possingham, H.P., and Klein, C.J. (eds) 2008) using different softwares (MARXAN, ZONATION, C-Map ...) are available for data processing and analysis for the MSP.
The Madagascar government has committed to a vision to establish a system of management and conservation areas covering 10% of Madagascar's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 2015. Since 2005, Madagascar has been among the first of Indian Ocean Countries to embrace MSP as an approach to meet this target, under the direction of the Environment-Fisheries Commission (CEP), the RAMP-COI project (Marine Protected Areas Network of the Indian Ocean Commission and other related initiatives. Between 2005-2007, the CEP identified 29 coastal and marine priority sites for conservation. From 2008-2009, the Madagascar Protected Areas Commission (SAPM) used the “systematic conservation planning\" approach to identify new terrestrial protected areas. RAMP-COI employed similar methods to map marine conservation priority areas in the western Indian Ocean in 2008-2009. A 2009 marine conservation workshop formally adopted these methods as the decision support framework for Madagascar marine conservation planning. In 2010, the Climate change adaptation for marine conservation program in Madagascar (CI, 2010) produced maps of marine priority areas that incorporated biological values and climate change considerations. However, the socio-economic parameters necessary to optimize the effectiveness of management and conservation of marine resources have not yet been fully taken into account. Rapport Atelier MARXAN Marine (29/11/2011-08/12/2011) (1.13 MB 2012-03-20 03:37:50)
The Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) committee (Decree No. 2010-137) promotes “sustainable development of coastal and marine areas through the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management\", To continue progress towards fulfilling Madagascar\'s vision for marine conservation, the ICZM sponsored a training workshop on Marine spatial planning using the Software MARXAN from November 29 to December 8, 2011 in order to consider and integrate both socio-economic and bioecological values in the identification and mapping of priority areas for marine and coastal conservation in Madagascar. Used in over 100 countries and 1200 organizations, MARXAN is an application for identifying and mapping coastal and marine sites that explore the trade-offs between conservation and use of marine and coastal resources.
The key workshop results were:
1. 15 participants from 10 NGOs and ministerial institutions were trained on the use of MARXAN Software applied in the marine and coastal environment. An expert specialist MARXAN of the Spatial Ecology Laboratory (SEL), University of Queensland, has provided the theoretical and practical course.
2. Bioecological and socioeconomic data necessary for the MSP were identified and collected: 36 datasets were then compiled and spatialized. 30 datasets were used in the preliminary spatial analysis launched on December 7, 2011.
3. Preliminary results from practical work on MARXAN initiated by the MSP panel, were obtained and discussed.
4. The main recommendations from the workshop participants were the requirement for a management and capitalization system of marine and coastal data, the involvement of all stakeholders in defining MSP objectives were. The thematic group "Ecosystem Management" of the ICZM Committee, mandated to conduct an analysis for the identification of priority sites for conservation inside the 13 coastal regions of Madagascar was assigned to promote national data management.
5. The following steps were adopted during the workshop:
- Advocacy at state bodies (MEF, MPRH, MMH, ...) and NGOs on the importance of establishing a participatory MSP. This might be accomplished through the thematic group "Ecosystem Management" of ICZM committee.
- Periodic working session of experts, biologists and operators on defining bioecological and socio-economic objectives of the country, the extent of the planning area (EEZ? Territorial sea? Continental shelf? Bioregions?) should be advertised.
- Strengthen and capitalize existing national database (CNDO, ONE, REBIOMA).
- Organize annual MSP workshop for launching a marine spatial analysis integrating all available marine data, disseminating and validating results.
With this workshop, Madagascar made a considerable step forward towards conservation of Madagascar\'s sea, which covers an area two times larger than its land. A dozen experts were trained in MARXAN, and are now able to build and analyze environmental data to provide technical and scientific support for decision makers and marine planners for an effective MSP in Madagascar. Given the stakes of sustainable development, Madagascar must then establish the basis for a MSP, crucial for environment and economy marine actors.