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Joint conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in the proposed transboundary conservation area between Kenya and Tanzania
by Secretariat of the Nairobi Convention (United Nations entity)
The coastal and marine area from the northern boundary of the Diani-Chale Marine National Reserve in Kenya to the southern boundary of Mkinga District in Tanzania shares common oceanographic conditions and weather patterns. Despite the political boundaries that have been put in place between the two countries, the area consists of a contiguous ecosystem with significant marine and coastal biodiversity which contributes to the socio-economics of coastal communities, particularly in tourism and fisheries.

The proposed Transboundary Conservation Area (TBCA) between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania will mainstream ecosystem management objectives and priorities into productive sector practices and policies. The initiative aims at strengthening capacity for restoring ecosystem health and piloting ecosystem-oriented approaches into spatial planning, water management, agriculture, forest, fisheries and protected area management. The establishment of a TBCA will mitigate several threats in the area (in addition to those posed by climate change) such as declining fisheries, destruction of marine and coastal habitats, deforestation, coastal flooding and salt water intrusion, sedimentation, pollution and the alteration of freshwater flows, insecurity and political apathy towards conservation issues.

It is envisaged that a Marine Transboundary Steering Committee (MTSC) will be established at ministerial level by the responsible Ministries in each country to steer the process of establishing and managing the TBCA. Operated under the auspices of the Nairobi Convention for the development, protection and management of the coastal and marine environment of the Western Indian Ocean, the MTSC will provide a coordination mechanism to enhance collaboration between existing institutions, frameworks and stakeholders. The TBCA is anchored by a decision of the Conference of Parties of the Nairobi Convention which requested contracting parties and partners to support a cross-border management system of the transboundary marine protected area between Kenya and Tanzania.

The partnership seeks to promote sustainable natural resource use and conservation in the TBCA, operationalise newly proclaimed marine reserves in the TBCA and encourage community based conservation efforts in the areas between existing marine protected areas. The TBCA partnership will tackle threats to marine biodiversity, meet international marine protected areas targets, promote tourism, and contribute to poverty reduction through the following two objectives:

1. Conserve and sustainably manage the biodiversity and productivity of the coastal and marine ecosystems in the transboundary conservation area between Kenya and Tanzania,

2. Enhance the contribution of the transboundary conservation area to the socio-economic development and the wellbeing of human communities in both countries.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
June 2020
sustainably managed coastal and marine ecosystems in the transboundary conservation area
March 2021
Enhanced economic development in the transboundary conservation area
In-kind contribution
Sustainably managed coastal and marine ecosystems in the transboundary conservation area and Enhanced economic development in the transboundary conservation area for the period 2017-2021. Co-finance of US$ 2,000,000
Basic information
Time-frame: April 2018 - March 2021
Kenya Wildlife Service (Government) State Department of Fisheries, Kenya (Government) Kenya Forest Service (Government) Tanzania Marine Parks and Reserves Unit (Government) Fisheries Development Division, Tanzania (Government) Tanzania Forest Service (Government) Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) (Intergovernmental Organization) Nairobi Convention (UN entity) Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) (Scientific community) International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (non-governmental organization)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Dixon Waruinge, Head, Nairobi Convention Secretariat, dixon.waruinge@unep.org, +254 20 762 2025
Nairobi, Kenya
Other SDGs
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