Improving policies to secure transboundary protection of dugongs and seagrass.

In conservation management, seagrasses and dugongs are a low priority because of their lack of visibility and poorly recognised ecological and economic role, and this is true at regional, national and local levels. At the regional level, the mechanisms do not yet exist to ensure regional collaboration and joint action for the conservation of migratory dugongs and their seagrass ecosystems and conservation needs are not mainstreamed into wider policy frameworks.

Dugongs are known to travel long distances to find new feeding grounds in response to the loss of their usual habitat. Often this means moving across jurisdictional boundaries. Coordinated management across national boundaries is therefore crucial for the dugong’s long-term survival.

The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MoU), under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) was adopted by the first Signatories on 31 October 2007. This “CMS Dugong MoU” is designed to facilitate national level and transboundary actions that will lead to the conservation of dugong populations and their seagrass habitats. Eight countries are participating in our Project including Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. Therefore, the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project makes a significant contribution to implementing the CMS Dugong MoU in 20% of the dugong global range.

The Project works to identify policy, planning and regulatory gaps that hinder the effective conservation management of dugongs and their seagrass habitats in Project Countries. The Project aims to improve policies by providing country-specific dugong and seagrass safeguards, at the same time strengthening the enforcement of policies, local and national development planning, and institutional capacities. The policy recommendations will be fed with data compiled by the research and incentives projects.

The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project ensures the national-level uptake of the policy recommendations developed under the national projects through National Facilitating Committees gathering all Partners in each Project country and relevant key government, non-government and research institutions.

Policy Projects

Total Funding $850,810

Strengthening and operationalizing a national policy strategy and action plan for dugong and seagrass conservation (ID1).

National Facilitating Committee for the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project (LK8).

National Facilitating Committee for the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project (MG5).

Establishment of a National Facilitating Committee and Technical Working Group for conserving dugongs and their habitat (MY2).

National Facilitating Committee for the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project (MZ6).

Strengthening provincial and national capacity for project implementation in the Solomon Islands (SB5).

Mainstreaming dugongs and their seagrass habitats in national coastal zone planning and decision-making (TL3).

Timor-Leste National Facilitating Committee (TL5).

Improving policies for dugongs and seagrasses in Vanuatu through research and awareness raising (VU1).

National Facilitating Committee for the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project (VU2).