The idea to develop SWIOFP originated at a meeting held in Mozambique in 2000 under a GEF-PDF-A grant to discuss a strategy for sharing sustainable development of SWIO marine resources. In January 2002, the IDA (International Development Association, representing GEF) signed an agreement with the Government of Mozambique to coordinate the preparation of a project brief (GEF-PDF-B grant) in a collaborative and transparent country-driven process. It was formally declared that SWIOFP would adopt a scientific and capacity-building approach as a first step in promoting a regional model of environmentally sustainable management of fisheries. Specific project development tasks were then identified and assigned to individual countries:
These portfolios were developed during a series of theme workshops (2003 – 2005) attended by two representatives per country, as well as five plenary meetings attended by the core SWIOFP preparation team and senior government officials. These plenary sessions informed governments of progress, solicited high level buy-in, and sought guidance relevant to specific country needs. A final project brief was submitted to GEF for approval late in 2005.
The Instituto Investigação Pesquira (IIP) in Mozambique played a leading role as coordinator and secretariat during the development of SWIOFP. During this phase the IIP received technical support from the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) in Durban
The Science Plan was largely based on research proposals submitted by countries reflecting their needs and falling within the broad SWIOFP transboundary objectives. These were collated into six distinct project components to create the basic structure of SWIOFP. In addition, this portfolio finalised issues relating to the overall vision, the study area, cruise plan and capacity building.
The data management portfolio involved the development of a nine-point road map to ensure full use of all potential sources of data, including historic records, foreign fleet landings, academic sources and others. The portfolio sought to develop protocols for database development, quality control and sharing of information. Various options for using existing data management systems were evaluated.
Operations and procurement issues were focused on adherence to World Bank procedures for the acquisition of high value items and services, such as ships’ time. A detailed procurement manual was produced and incorporated in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD).
Issues around Legal matters received considerable attention and called for specialist input from several sources, including World Bank staff. The final outcome of this portfolio resulted in a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that forms the basis on which countries of the region collaborate with each other under the umbrella of SWIOFP.
Project management received attention at all levels and contributed to finalising the working structures of SWIOFP. This portfolio also contributed to the process of selecting Kenya as the host for implementation of SWIOFP.