Mikoko Project: Conservation & Resilience of Kenya's Mangrove Forests

Mangrove forests for the blue economy

Entitled “Mangrove, a flagship socio-ecosystem for the blue economy”, the final Workshop of the FSPI Mikoko on the Conservation and Resilience of Kenyan Mangrove Forests was held on May 26 and 27, 2021 at Hotel Neptune, Diani, Kenya.

The workshop was organized by KFS, IRD and CIRAD and brought together more than 70 participants and partners of the Mikoko project. It aimed at presenting the main activities and progress of the project, and to discuss their implications for the future. The workshop consisted in a one-day seminar, on May 26, followed by a visit to the mangroves of Gazi Bay, on May 27.

The workshop was inaugurated by the deputy director of KFS (Ms Charity Munyasya), the deputy director of IRD (Ms Corinne Brunon-Meunier), the research directorate at the Ministry of Education (Dr Eric Mwangi) and the regional director of CIRAD, Dr Pierre Grard which underlined the importance of the project to tackle the challenges and outcomes of mangrove socio-ecosystem under the current economic and climatic trends.

After a presentation of the project by the coordinators David Williamson (IRD), Juliana Prosperi (Cirad) and Diana Kishiki (representative of James Mwangombe, KFS), the meeting was divided into 7 “panels” covering all the project activities. These panels were facilitated by the students and participants in the project, and chaired by a majority of women, in order to recall the decisive contribution of women in the management of the socio-ecosystems of the planet.

These panels showed that the project helped to (1) better understand the mangrove-climate relationship and the biophysical functioning of this ecosystem, (2) describe the interface between lifestyles, livelihoods and mangroves, (3 ) question the governance of mangrove and the consideration of local actors, (4) identify the challenges and opportunities of mangrove socio-ecosystems in higher education and research, (5) co-construct a digital tool and participatory knowledge exchange in the service of science, training, and local development: the Mikoko portal. In addition, (6) from carbon sequestration to food, tourism and coastal protection, the Mikoko project has enabled to address the socio-economic assets of the Kenyan mangrove. Eventually, the project was put into perspective in the context of the blue economy. Among several dozen proposals, several ongoing achievements of the project deserve to be highlighted and reinforced for the upcoming years. Several opportunities were raised such as (i) the Master subjects dedicated to the local mangrove management issues, (ii) the development of the participatory knowledge exchange digital portal (Mikoko portal), the creation of a Mangrove House in Lamu, and of course the effective implementation and completion of the Kenya National Mangrove Management Plan (2017).

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