Madagascar’s President Hery Rajaonarimampianina met with conservationists at the University of Cambridge, placing marine management high on the agenda.
A roundtable discussion convened by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) brought together researchers and conservationists working in Madagascar – including representatives of Blue Ventures, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Fauna & Flora International, Birdlife International and the IUCN – to discuss opportunities for collaborating to address Madagascar’s conservation challenges.
President Rajaonarimampianina opened the meeting by emphasising his belief in placing local communities and sustainable development at the heart of biodiversity conservation, reflecting a growing trend of cross-sector environmental work in Madagascar.
Following his bold commitment to triple coverage of the country’s marine protected areas at the World Parks Congress in Sydney last year, President Rajaonarimampianina highlighted his Government’s ongoing efforts to establish legal frameworks for community governance of fishing grounds while encouraging the development of economic incentive-based approaches to marine management. These priorities resonate strongly with the work of Blue Ventures, which includes establishing locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) designed to rebuild fisheries and developing incentive based conservation projects such as blue forests initiatives to support community protection and replanting of mangroves.
Blue Ventures’ Community Health Programmes Coordinator Laura Robson and Executive Director Dr Alasdair Harris and took part in the roundtable discussion, grasping this opportunity to call attention to progress being made by the MIHARI (LMMA) Network and the Population-Health-Environment (PHE) Network in Madagascar, and suggesting that collaboration proposals be channelled through these networks in order to engage a wide range of international and local NGO partners.
President Rajaonarimampianina’s delegation showed strong support for strengthening relationships between Madagascar and the UK’s conservation sector, which has a long and diverse history of supporting applied conservation efforts throughout Madagascar.