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Effective management of Madagascar's maritime space is on track

Madagascar has a 5,600 km long coastline. The island's coastal zone is home to mangroves with an area estimated at 390,853ha according to the state of mangroves in 2019 and 50,000ha of area suitable for aquaculture.

The Exclusive Economic Zone of Madagascar extends over 1,140,000 km².  These figures represent an enormous potential: economic and ecological for the big island. Indeed, the maritime space of Madagascar is first of all a supply area for fishery resources, then it is the gateway that allows it to open up to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the potential that Madagascar has is not managed equitably. Thus, the country does not benefit from the estimated or even legitimated revenues and advantages from the exploitation of maritime resources. Overall, Madagascar's performance in the maritime economy is still relatively weak. The reasons for this include, but are not limited to, the lack of continuity and coordination between different initiatives, a weak regulatory framework, a lack of common vision and shared objectives, the failure to take into account all the interests of all stakeholders, etc. On the other hand, marine ecosystems are continuously degrading and fisheries resources are clearly less abundant due to unsustainable fishing practices and overexploitation.

To address this, the Ministry in charge of Land Use Planning and the Ministry in charge of the Blue Economy, supported by WWF, are working together to advance Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Madagascar, and more particularly lately on the design of a methodological tool that aims to improve the contribution of spatial and temporal management tools to MSP.
The recent initiatives around MSP aim to revive the balance between exploitation, rational use, and conservation of marine resources and biodiversity at the level of the maritime territory while taking into account the needs of different users of this space. In this sense, the MSP leads to a better contribution of the maritime sector to the development of the country.

According to Harifidy Ralison, WWF: "The development of the Malagasy maritime space must be done with the active contribution of all stakeholders and must benefit all stakeholders, then bring benefits for the economy of our big Island and a long-term conservation of Malagasy biodiversity.

The actors of the MSP in Madagascar met on November 17 and 18 to remobilize all the stakeholders concerned and discuss the topics mentioned above in order to improve the design of the MSP.

This process of MSP is also implemented in Tanzania, as part of the  Northern Mozambique Channel (NMC) initiative. Moreover, workshops are organized there from December 14 to 16 so that the various actors can appropriate the concept of spatial planning of the marine space.
In the two countries, the sectors represented ranged from tourism, finance, economy, planning, industry, energy, environment, research, land use, fisheries, to defence. Such an inclusive process aimed at developing a methodology for ensuring enhanced contribution of area-based management tools in the national MSP design and implementation, and also linking to the Blue Economy process in each country.
The scoping study for the design of a methodological tool for enhancing the sustainability and suitability of national MSP in NMC countries is gradually in place : situational report for Madagascar and Tanzania highlighting the relevant governance context in both countries, which informs the development of their roadmap to MSP implementation is completed, and a methodological tool was put in place  to contribute to the development of MSP in Madagascar and Tanzania.