Putting the “O” in environmental injustice – strengthening the regional network of marine dependent communities in Indian Ocean and Coastal South East Africa

Land: Mauritius

Partner: CARES – Centre for Alternative Research and Studies on Economic, Social and Environmental Issues

Bevilliget beløb: kr. 478,288.00

Projekt start: 9/3/2018 Projekt slut: 6/1/2019 (Afsluttet)

The Indian Ocean Islands’ populations are among the most vulnerable in terms of climate catastrophes. Communities in the South and East African and Indian Ocean region thus face serious livelihood risks as their lives are directly dependent on their access to and control over marine resources. Therefore, Mauritius-based CARES, Center for Alternative Research and Studies on Economic, Social and Environmental Issues, work to mobilise and organise civil society actors nationally and regionally by supporting and empowering existing social movements through climate change and ecology forums. The intervention consists of two complimentary events: The fourth School of Ecology, facilitating a deepened understanding of the climatic and ecological crises in the region, and the very first Indian Ocean Conference, bringing together regional social movements, providing a platform for convergence and cooperation. These events are followed up by political work in the region’s coastal communities.

Overordnet mål:

The interventions objective is to consolidate a network between activists and organisations from marine dependent communities in the Indian Ocean and Coastal South East (SE) Africa region, in order to strengthen their ability to effect change both locally and regionally. This is pursued through capacity building of key activists who will act as catalysts expanding and scaling up political campaigning activities against beach grabbing, ocean extractivism and environmental injustices in marine areas.

Umiddelbare mål:

– Strengthening citizen participation and organising civil society. The SoE18 and the IOC contribute in numerous ways to citizen participation, organising of civil society and to strengthening the voices of civil society organisation in the countries of cooperation. Concretely the intervention will strengthen citizen participation in the following ways:

– Network- and capacity building. The intervention targets youths, university students and activists in social movements from coastal regions in the Indian Ocean and the coastal SE African region. The participants in SoE18 and IOC will be in positions to influence policy change on ecological issues at local and regional levels. This way, new networks across coastal communities in the region will be developed while existing networks become strengthened.

– Strengthening knowledge and respond to the shared challenges. There is a profound lack of publicly available knowledge on the state of the Indian Ocean in terms of ecology, biodiversity and commodification of natural resources. An aim of the network that this intervention seeks to consolidate, is to monitor and accumulate knowledge on these topics to ensure an informed public debate, in order for decision makers to act accordingly on the looming ecological crisis. The seminars at the SoE18 will facilitate a deepened understanding of the climatic and ecological crises the region is facing. The IOC is a meeting space and platform for strengthening civil society’s responses to ocean and coastal extractivism.


Target groups 80 participants have been invited to take part in the SoE18, with a diverse group of participants coming from many different backgrounds. Participants will include a gender-diverse group of 40 young Mauritian activists, drawn from grass roots- and labour movements within Mauritius. In addition, 40 representatives from CSOs working on ecological and ocean-specific issues outside of Mauritius have been invited, with 35 coming from Indian Ocean island- and coastal states11 and 5 from outside of the region12. Most of the 80 SoE18 participants are also invited to take part in the IOC, with the exception of representatives from organisations not working on ocean-specific issues. While 80 people have been specifically invited to take part, both the SoE18 and IOC will be open to other interested parties as well and it is expected that there will be several more participants from Mauritian civil society taking part, as this has been the case in previous years. The intention is for the activities to be of benefit to as many people as possible, which is also reflected in the list of participants, who have been strategically selected partly on the basis of their ability to catalyse the knowledge gained from the SoE18 and IOC into their host organisations and wider civil society. As such, the primary target group of this intervention are the participants taking part in one or both activities, who all represent civil society in the Indian Ocean region and beyond. All participants are representatives of specific movements and organisations and expected to act as catalysts within these, effectively broadening the primary target group to the organisations and movements represented at the SoE18 and IOC.


The SoE18 has the following indicators:

  • A systematic way of disseminating knowledge and communicating within the network has been agreed upon and set up.
  • A declaration on the blue economy and state of the oceans in the region on behalf of the network has been drafted.
  • A common strategy of action for campaigning has been drafted.
  • A minimum 40 Mauritian participants engage in either SoE18 or the IOC.
  • The publication of previous results is made available in Mauritian creole and distributed. Campaigns against beach grabbing and ocean extractivism have spread from Mauritius to others countries in the Indian Ocean and Coastal Southern Africa region.
  • A best practice evaluation of the “catalyst” role has been developed, and can serve as template in future assessments of this role.

IOC has the following indicators:

  • A common action plan for future cooperation and campaigning within the new network on marine ecology and ocean extractivism has been developed and agreed upon.
  • Internal modes of communication for the new network has been agreed upon.
  • The organisations present have reached a tentative agreement on roles and responsibilities for future activities in terms of cooperation and campaign outputs.
  • A declaration on the blue economy and state of the oceans in the region has been drafted, setting the political direction of the network
  • Participants have learned about tactics and strategies of other organisations that work in different contexts.