Secrets behind the success of Regional MPA networks & Regional Conventions to achieve global challenges

Organisers :  MedPAN & RAC/SPA
Moderator : Charlotte Gobin, consultant


Regional MPA networks have either part of, or developed strong collaborations with Regional Conventions (Regional Seas Conventions, RFMOs…) to help achieve Aichi target 11, SAMOA Pathway, SGD14.5 and other global goals..


Session overview


Several regional professional MPA networks exist in the world:  MedPAN (Mediterranean), CaMPAM (Wider Caribbean), RAMPAO (West Africa), WIOMSA (West Indian Ocean), Maia (Atlantic), Panache (English Channel), NEAMPAN (North-East Asia), NAMPAN (North America)... There is a new European project related to Transatlantic MPAs network.

These networks of MPA managers are essential catalysts and facilitators for the development of ecological networks of MPAs. These last decades have seen the MPA managers’ networks growing in number and visibility. They are recognized for their capacity to respond to MPA managers’ needs and for being a platform of knowledge production and sharing. But still, their long-term functioning is often difficult to ensure. MPA professional networks’ support takes several forms: advocacy at the regional and international levels, communication and networking of different stakeholders, enhancing common understanding and scientific knowledge, developing regional databases and analyses, enhanced visibility and profile, and formulating recommendations for better integration of MPAs into Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management frameworks.

MPA professional networks also improve MPA management effectiveness through capacity building, learning exchanges among MPA managers, promoting lessons learnt and best practices, promoting participative governance, developing management guidelines as well as finding new and sustainable financing resources for MPAs.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can play an important role as ‘sentinel sites’ in the different regional seas, and contribute to management strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change effects. MPA Networks can promote this role and enhance MPAs contribution to environmental resilience and adaptation.

Regional MPA networks have either part of, or developed strong collaborations with Regional Conventions (Regional Seas Conventions, RFMOs…) to help achieve Aichi target 11, SAMOA Pathway, SGD14.5 and other global goals.




► Recommendations of the session


1- Willingness from MPA supporters (managers, donors, scientists, stakeholders…) to create and sustain a network towards a clear and common goal which answers direct needs of MPAs and serve as an interface between bottom-up and top down approaches.


2- Build a strong and friendly community around the expertise and experience of its members and the will to share.


3- Build a win-win and trusted relationship with other regional partners and other MPA networks.




INTRODUCTION 1 : Overview of existing Regional MPA networks

Speaker:  Charlotte Gobin, consultant for MedPAN
These last decades have seen the MPA managers’ networks growing in number and visibility. All different in their structure, their status and stage of development, they nevertheless have many commonalities, particularly with regards to tools used for communication, capacity building, knowledge production, and financial support to MPAs. Important fact is that they have demonstrated their added-value in spreading viable and functional management models, in giving an opportunity for MPA to become key players in broader marine landscape, in providing comprehensive information and decision support tools, in leading activities to financially sustain MPAs. But, MPA managers’ networks are also sharing challenges including on reconciling the different agenda (local, regional, and international), on maintaining the momentum and the MPA managers’ ownership; on strengthening synergies and coordination among the different partners at regional level. A way to strengthen, sustain, but also replicate, multiply the MPA managers’ network would be to foster collaboration, mutualisation, and cross-fertilisation.

PRESENTATION 1 : Feedback from the joined session held during the Hawaii Congress

Speaker:  Purificacio Canals, MedPAN & Khalil Attia, RAC/SPA
Over the past years, some of the Regional MPA networks have started sharing and mutualising experiences. For instance, at IMPAC3 Congress in 2013, a set of key recommendations was drafted to improve their effectiveness and to better involve them into a broader framework of integrated management. Continuing on this path, several networks decided to move forward on strengthening their collaboration and mobilisation at the occasion of the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii (2016).



PANEL 1 : Critical factors to help establishment and long-term networking


PRESENTATION 2 : Participative governance of marine protected areas in West Africa: Lessons learned and best practices

Speaker:  Marie Suzanne Traoré, Rampao
In the last decades more than 30 marine protected areas (MPAs) were created in West Africa, spanning a diversity of governance approaches. The creation of these MPAs increased the amount of surface area protected from nearly 1,587,000 ha in 2004 to over 2,722,000 ha in 2014, representing 12.7% of territorial waters. Achieving the Aichi target for the proportion of territorial waters under protection is important, but also ensuring their effective and equitable governance is essential. This presentation describes the originality and variety of approaches to creating MPAs in the region and the role of the West African Network of MPAs (RAMPAO) in supporting these creation processes


PRESENTATION 3 : Financial sustainability

Speaker:  Paule Gros, MAVA Foundation


PRESENTATION 4 : The CaMPAM of the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme: answering the needs of marine area managers and maintaining a close relationship with members

Speaker:  Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri,  UNEP-CEP SPAW
Since 1999, and thanks to the mandate of the SPAW Protocol of the Cartagena Convention administered by the UNEP Caribbean Regional Seas Programme, the Caribbean Marine Protected Area Management Network (CaMPAM) has developed as an internationally recognized network of Caribbean MPA managers with a strong capacity building program. The initial tools proposed by the 50 marine area managers that gathered in 1997 are still relevant: training of trainers with local follow-up activities, grants with technical assistance awarded to disseminate best marine management practices, an active communication tool to share information and experiences (CaMPAM List and CaMPAM website) and a session at the annual GCFI, the most important marine science conference in the Caribbean.
CaMPAM activities have developed to respond to the changing needs of the marine managers’ community, which in turn reflect the deterioration of the region’s coastal ecosystems and services, the not-very-well defined effects of global climate change, and the very development of the human capacity and awareness of the different population sectors in the 38 countries, and European and USA territories. Those needs have been captured through the feedback of CaMPAM network members, projects beneficiaries, and at the SPAW STAC and several other relevant regional meetings on coastal planning, marine area management and ecosystem research. The maintenance of this network requires maintain a user friendly communication and information tool and a flow of services to the membership to address their changing priority needs, all supported by UNEP-CEP with funding from different sources committed to support the SPAW Programme, including European and US government cooperation agencies, as well as national and international conservation institutions and experts.


PRESENTATION 5 : Establishment of new networks

Speaker:  Robert Turk, Adriapan

AdriaPAN, the Adriatic Protected Areas Network, is a bottom-up initiative, started on the Italian shores of the Adriatic. Based on the Cerrano Charter, signed initially by 10 Italian PA, it gathers nowadays 42 members and more than 50 associated organizations involved in one way or another in activities concerning PA and interested in AdriaPAN activities. The main aim of the network is to encourage permanent contacts and collaboration between PA of the Adriatic region in order to improve their management, visibility and consequently to assure their active role in designing the future development of the area. The functioning of the network, including the secretariat, relies mainly on projects, successfully obtained through various financial mechanisms. This is working fine in terms of PA interactions and collaborations, it does not, however, assure a stable, long-term active role of the network as a supporting structure to protected areas and as an possible important regional player in terms of marine and coastal biodiversity conservation. Earlier this year, some members of the network elaborated a project proposal that could be financed through the Interreg ADRION Programme, with the aim to investigate possible ways of financing the structure and above all to make it functional on the whole Adriatic-Ionian region.



PANEL 2: Collaboration between Regional MPA networks and Regional Sea Conventions


PRESENTATION 6 : Barcelona Convention

Speaker: Gaetano Leone, UNEP/MAP


PRESENTATION 7 : Cartagena Convention

Speaker: Alessandra Vanzella Khouri, UNEP/CEP



PANEL 3: Towards a joint action plan


PRESENTATION 8 : The World Database on Protected Areas, and associated knowledge on MPAs

Speaker:  Dan Laffoley, IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas
Recent years have seen a huge and welcome growth in protection of marine areas, but the global ocean still only has just over 4% by area within such sites. Analysis shows that protection is regionally biased, with some countries high levels of protection skewing the global stats. The focus has also been mainly on meeting the % target set out in Aichi Target 11 by the Convention on Biological Diversity that countries have signed-up to. We know very little about the other aspect of this target such as effectiveness, connectivity and equity. We do know that many important areas for marine biodiversity are still not protected. The lack of effectiveness information leaves us wondering how ‘protected’ MPAs really are, and there is evidence that some of the larger MPAs still have insufficient management.
The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the official repository for data, and is used for official reporting to countries and convention on progress. The WDPA has vastly improved over recent years, but the GDPAME (global database on protected areas management effectiveness) is woefully incomplete. Maintaining these globally standardised databases is critical to tracking global progress and it performs a watch-dog function that encourages countries to step-up. It is incredible that out of all the Aichi targets, Target 11 is the only target that has shown positive progress, and it is the existence of the WDPA that has driven this.
Maintaining and improving our data on MPAs is needed to hold countries accountable, and ensuring that this is achieved quickly, effectively and efficiently among Regional MPA networks and their partners is not just important but essential to future progress.


PRESENTATION 9 : Sharing best practices: DG Environment / European Commission

Speaker: Vedran nikolic, Transatlantic MPAs, Natura 2000 biogeographic approach
The countries of the European Union have experience in setting up MPAs with more than 6% of EU seas under the marine Natura 2000 network comprising more than 3000 sites designated under EU nature legislation. The management of Natura 2000 network is discussed within the seminars on Natura 2000 management aiming to ensure a coordinated approach at EU level.
In 2016, the European Union has initiated the project «Towards a transatlantic partnership of Marine Protected Areas» to promote cooperation between MPA managers in countries and territories around the Atlantic Ocean. It is designed to stimulate exchange and sharing of best practice to improve the effective management of MPAs, bringing both sides of the Atlantic together in twinning projects.
The new EU Ocean governance initiative intends to further strengthen the cooperation of EU with the relevant international organisations with the aim to achieve Aichi target and promote the effective management of MPAs. The actions involve promoting the exchange of best practices and support efforts towards coherent networks of MPAs, enhancing regional and international cooperation to develop long-term, sustainable financing mechanisms for MPAs and providing funding under Horizon2020 and LIFE for marine research essential for the establishment of marine protected areas in cooperation with international partners.


PRESENTATION 10: Advocacy at international events (including climate change fora, IMPAC 4, UN SDG 14)

Speaker: Purificacio Canals, MedPAN
The increased collaboration between regional networks has gained momentum. But while MPA managers’ networks are fully recognized in their role, they often lack of the adequate financial resources and capacity to take their role on fully, and thus impedes their potentiality as a driver of innovation, visioning, and effectiveness.
The multi-regional MPA managers’ networks could be used as a platform for common knowledge, and as driver of innovation for facing the common challenges (e.g. efficient and resilient system of MPAs, visibility, sustainable financing). The IMPAC4 Congress in 2017 and the other international meetings (e.g. CBD, UN SDG 14, Our Oceans, UNFCCC…) should be used to reach an agreement between the MPA managers’ networks on a simple and easy to implement action plan.


PRESENTATION 11: Search for joint funding: Conservation Finance Alliance

Speaker: Charles Besancon, Conservation Finance Alliance