MPA managers in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), like their peers in many parts of the world, must deal with a multitude of situations and challenges on a daily basis, often in remote locations and without easy reference to sources of information or assistance. A new “toolkit” aims to help them. Consisting of themed briefs arranged in a ring-binder, the toolkit offers a quick and expert guide to a diverse array of topics, including communications, financing, energy sources, solid waste disposal, coral monitoring, fisheries, and many more. It is designed to address management issues relevant to all types of MPAs in the region, from community-based sites to nationally designated marine parks.

Managing Marine Protected Areas: A Toolkit for the Western Indian Ocean is a collaboration of the IUCN’s Eastern Africa Regional Programme, the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). It represents the latest installment in an ongoing regional effort to improve management effectiveness of MPAs. That effort also includes a regional MPA management training course (MPA News 2:2) and a training manual for MPA managers produced last year (MPA News 5:4).

“The toolkit is designed to complement and build on the regional training course and training manual,” says Julius Francis, WIOMSA executive secretary. “The training course introduces issues, concepts, tools, and approaches that are relevant to MPAs. However, for day-to-day activities, the MPA manager may need more detailed and specific information, as supplied in the toolkit.” Like the course and manual, the toolkit incorporates both global knowledge of MPAs and information specific to the WIO region, with case studies from nine WIO countries.

WIOMSA is distributing the training manual and toolkit to all MPAs in the region, as well as to resource management agencies and other relevant institutions. The region includes Comores, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion (France), Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and the state of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Limited hard copies will be available for distribution outside the region, although a fee may be charged, says Francis.

Some of the theme sheets and other supporting materials are available on the project website – accessible via the WIOMSA site at – while the remainder will be posted there at a later date. Additional supporters of the project included the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF-Eastern Africa Marine Ecoregion (EAME) Programme, and the Coastal Zone Management Centre of the Netherlands.

For more information:
Julius Francis, WIOMSA, P.O. Box 3298, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Tel: +255 24 2233472; E-mail: