In Mozambique, 90% of the population depends directly or indirectly on goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, over the last decade there has been a significant increase in the exploitation of natural resources in Mozambique (mining, oil and gas, agriculture, forestry and fisheries) and in the creation of basic infrastructure (e.g. roads, power plants, transport lines energy, etc.), with negative and often irreversible environmental and social impacts. The national biodiversity strategy, the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (NBSAP: 2015-2035), was designed to respond to national challenges, ensuring that the benefits from the sustainable use of biodiversity effectively contribute to the development of the country through the eradication of poverty and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
Mozambique's ecosystems are grouped into 4 main categories: (I) terrestrial ecosystems, (II) marine ecosystems, (III) coastal ecosystems, and (IV) inland water ecosystems. These ecosystems structure 30 natural habitats, which encompass a variety of flora and fauna species, many of which are endemic to the region. In terms of vegetation, the miombo is the most dominant vegetation type, followed by mopane and Mecrusse. The country is one of the richest in plant diversity in the region. 
The diversity of species in Mozambique is estimated to be 6,145 plant species; of these, more than 300 species of plants are in the IUCN Red List, of which 22% are endemic. The country has about 4,271 species of fauna, of which insects are the most abundant group (72%), birds (17%), mammals 5% and the least abundant amphibians with 2%.
The critical ecosystems that occur along the 2700 km of the Mozambican coastline are mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reefs, salt marshes, rocky shores and sandy beaches. The country’s offshore territorial waters cover an area of about 100.000km2. 
Mozambique present the big fives both on land (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino) and in the marine realm (manta rays, sharks, turtles, humpback whales and dugongs). It is also a home to the iconic whale shark, bottlenose dolphins and hosts the largest Dugong population in the Western Indian Ocean, estimated at 300 individuals. 
IUCN Red List threatened species in Mozambique include 53 corals, 5 amphibian species, one endemic; 29 bird species, one endemic; and 14 mammal species, two endemic of which one is endangered. Also on the IUCN Red List, there are 41 marine vertebrate species including whales, sharks, rays and other fish, five species of sea turtles and dugongs.
As of 2021, about 30% of the country is covered by protected areas and 32 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of global importance were identified and officially recognized by the Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA). Mozambique has adhered to the High Coalition Ambition (HAC), which intends to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. The country is a signatory to several international and regional conventions related to biodiversity (CBD, CMS, RAMSAR, CITES, Nairobi, etc.). 

The Decree no. 54/2015, of 31 December, which approves the Regulation on the Environmental Assessment Process, introduced the obligation to adequately implement the mitigation hierarchy in Mozambique. Nevertheless, some gaps were identified and the Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA) represented by the National Directorate of Environment (DINAB), in collaboration with the COMBO Program, BIOFUND and BIOFIN developed a proposal for a Regulation of Biodiversity Offsets in Mozambique.


Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA) – has the mandate to coordinate environmental management and conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources and the management of conservation areas in Mozambique. WCS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MTA in 2017 to promote the objectives of the COMBO Project through effective coordination between the institutions aimed at expanding the application of the mitigation hierarchy at the national level.

Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation (BIOFUND) – a not-for-profit conservation trust fund organized and existing under the laws of Mozambique and member of the CAFÉ Network. The partnership between WCS through COMBO Project and BIOFUND is to establish a framework for collaboration between both institutions to implement the COMBO Project in Mozambique. Therefore, WCS and BIOFUND are involved in moving the offset agenda forward in the country and in Africa.

The project has engaged with many other Government institutions including the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME) and the Ministry of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries (MIMAIP); other trust funds like ProAzul and FNDS; NGOs like WWF-Mozambique and IUCN; Academia like the University Eduardo Mondlane and UniLúrio; private sector such as the Mozambican Association for Impact Assessment (AMAIA), the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA), Portucel, ENI, TOTAL, SASOL, SHELL, KENMARE, etc


The COMBO Project in Mozambique aims to support the Government in effective implementation of the mitigation hierarchy, in particular the new biodiversity offsets regulation, creating the technical tools to support this and building required capacity among all relevant stakeholders.

Some of the main activities being implemented by WCS and BIOFUND, the partners leading COMBO Program in Mozambique, include:

  • Assisting the Government in closing policy gaps, by contributing to new legislation or regulations: regulation on independent peerreviewers for EIAs; adjustment of the new mining and oil and gas environmental regulations to the EIA and Biodiversity Offsets regulations;
  • Assisting the Government on developing tools to avoid impacts on biodiversity, identifying potential offset sites, developing metrics to quantify biodiversity loss and gain and improving the management and sharing of the information that is useful to apply the Mitigation Hierarchy (on a website to aggregate all biodiversity data and information available for Mozambique);
  • Providing technical assistance and intensive training to the technicians from the new Government Biodiversity Offset Assessment and Monitoring Division (Repartição de Avaliação e Acompanhamento de Contrabalanços de Biodiversidade – RAACB) who will be leading on the implementation of the new regulation and guidelines for effective application of the mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity offsets;
  • Designing and implementing offset pilots on the ground with the Government and local partners to test the biodiversity offsets regulation and provide hands on training on its effective application. We plan to investigate pilot projects in Licuáti Forest Reserve, Maputo Special Reserve and Chimanimani National Park;
  • Producing communication materials on the pilot projects for outreach, fundraising and knowledge sharing.

Our work in recent years has been successful with some important results across areas such as policy, data availability and in capacity development


  • Proposal for the Biodiversity Offsets Regulation developed and under approvement by the Minister
  • Biodiversity Offset Assessment and Monitoring Division (RAACB) recently created by the Ministry of Land and Environment under the Environmental Assessment Department in DINAB
  • National Technical Group for Biodiversity Offsets activated and operational under BIOFUND coordination
  • Advisory Group on Biodiversity Conservation Initiatives in the Licuáti Forest Reserve (RFL) and Surrounding Area in the Matutuíne Landscape created and chaired by the National Directorate of Forestry (DINAF)
  • Environmental Regulation for Mining Activities aligned with the EIA regulation and including biodiversity offsets
  • KBAs included in the National Territorial Plan (Plano Nacional de Desenvolvimento do Território – PNDT) and Marine Spatial Plan (Plano de Ordenamento do Espaço Marítimo - POEM) as avoidance areas and role of biodiversity offsets recognized for in improving biodiversity conservation in the country
  • Regulation of the Law for the Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity includes specific sections on restoration and compensation.

Technical tools

  • Detailed and updated map developed for Protected Areas according with the different categories under the Conservation Law
  • Complete package on KBAs available, which includes the maps of KBAs for Mozambique, reports, an online Atlas and a Story Map
  • Preliminary Map of Historical Ecosystems for Mozambique developed with detailed ecosystem description
  • Metrics to assess the ecological condition for Miombo and Mangroves developed, which will allow to determine the losses and gains of biodiversity in the project impact area and offsetting areas
  • Tool developed to identify restoration areas for offsets programs based on the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM).

Capacity building and outreach

  • Over 300 people trained on the application of the mitigation hierarchy
  • COMBO training modules translated to Portuguese and made available online
  • Explanatory video on the Mitigation Hierarchy and Biodiversity Offsets in Mozambique made available online
  • Brochures on the Mitigation Hierarchy and Biodiversity Offsets developed and made available online
  • Advancing Biodiversity Efforts to Promote National Development
    The National Coordination Group (NCG) on Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) held its fifth National Consultative Meeting on 10th November 2020 at Fairway Hotel in Kampala. The meeting aimed to share updates and discuss mechanisms of supporting government to institutionalize the KBA mechanism in the national development planning process as well as secure high-level political support for including KBAs in the national Post2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agenda.

Hugo Costa
COMBO Project Manager - Mozambique
Wildlife Conservation Society, Rua Orlando Mendes, n. 163,
Sommerschield, Maputo, Mozambique
Tel: +258 21 49 6965