Case Study: Mobilizing Political Will in Tanzania

More than a decade ago, Tanzania initiated programs in ocean and coastal management and received donor support to develop an integrated coastal management strategy and begin pilot projects for sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources. However, Tanzania’s government did not allocate any budgetary resources to implement the strategy and the projects were sporadic and short term.

The lack of capacity and demand for greater capacity in ocean and coastal resource management were not as high a priority for policy-makers as the needs of the agriculture, infrastructure, education, and health fields. No budgetary resources were allocated by the government to implement the strategy, nor were they allocated for ocean-resource management. Little or no capacity existed to support the governance of valuable fisheries resources in nearshore areas and offshore. The fisheries were mostly open-access; establishment of marine protected areas failed to curb illegal fishing, including dynamiting. The fisheries in the exclusive economic zone were exploited under a licensing regime that was uncoordinated, unmonitored, and largely unregulated. Ocean and coastal resource management did not have high priority in top management discussions on poverty reduction and economic growth.

The situation began to change from 2002-2004 when key Tanzanian policymakers were presented with studies on the issues and opportunities in ocean and coastal areas. Additionally, the press regularly covered the plight of coastal residents (among the poorest in the nation) and the need for better management of fishery resources. These factors contributed to the mobilization of political will for growing capacity for good governance of the country’s marine and coastal resources.

The result was the inclusion of an Marine and Coastal Environmental Management Project in the government’s development agenda. The government sought and received support from the World Bank and the GEF for implementing the project. Key categories of capacity that will be built with support from this program include governance of fisheries in the exclusive economic zone, governance of the marine environment in nearshore areas, and support of and services for coastal communities to improve management of the coastal environment. The program will build capacity at all levels (national, district, and community) for better management of resources to add value to the resources harvested, to develop public and private partnerships, and to market the products better.