Regional Seas News
Establishing national and regional systems of Marine Protected Areas:
A review of selected systems with analysis of lessons learned
With growing recognition that the target set by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and later reinforced by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to establish 'comprehensive, effectively-managed and ecologically representative national and regional systems In line with CBD terminology, the project will use the term 'system' for organized groups of protected areas established at sub-global level and 'network' for the global level. There is much variation in the use of these two words, and the term 'MPA network' is sometimes used to refer to spatially organized groups of MPAs and sometimes for organized groups of MPA practitioners and managers (e.g. the NAMPAN network for N.
America, CAMPAN for the Caribbean etc.) of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2012' will be tough to meet, there has been a rush to accelerate the process.
Considerable material exists on the theory and best practices for developing systems of protected areas and many countries have initiated the necessary planning and, in some cases, implementation processes. However, although it is relatively simple to calculate the increase in number of MPAs and the growth in area of their coverage by 2012, determining whether systems are 'comprehensive, effectively-managed and ecologically representative' is more difficult. A quick survey of the literature, conference proceedings and other sources shows that a wide variety of approaches are being taken. MPA systems include no-take reserves within large MPAs (e.g. the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park), no-take reserves or other MPAs at national level (e.g Bahamas, Belize), or MPAs spread across a region or ecoregion (e.g. Meso-American Barrier Reef, North-East Atlantic).
In order to get a better understanding of progress being made, a joint initiative is underway by two UNEP agencies (the World Conservation Monitoring System, Cambridge, UK, and the Regional Seas Programme, Nairobi,
Kenya), in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
IUCN/WCPA-Marine, the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The aim is to review advances in the development of MPA systems at different spatial scales, as a first step in measuring progress towards the WSSD target, and CBD decision VII/30 which calls for the effective conservation of at least 10 % of each of the world's ecological regions by 2010.
The project will look at sub-national, national and regional levels and, using the experience so far gathered, will help to identify indicators and mechanisms for measuring progress. MPAs represent a conveniently small subset of data for such an approach as they make up, by number, less than 5% of the global protected area estate. The review will look at the extent to which parameters such as 'comprehensiveness', 'ecological representativeness', 'connectivity' and 'resilience' are being incorporated, as well as the way in which socio-economic and governance factors are considered and the methodologies being used. Since an inventory of management effectiveness is being established through an IUCN/WCPA/University of Queensland programme, this aspect will not be covered but relevant links will be developed.
Data that are collected during the project will be used to correct and amend information on individual sites in MPA Global, and subsequently the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). The project will represent a continuation and expansion of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme/CBD/ICRAN joint project to examine the status of MPAs and systems within the Regional Seas programmes and to facilitate development of a strategic approach for meeting international targets at the regional level. It will build on and complement WCPA-Marine’s initiative to develop principles for developing MPA systems, and will also complement and involve collaboration with TNC's Marine Learning Partnership.
The first step involves the preparation of an annotated inventory of MPA systems established and/or being developed, using literature, web searches and correspondence with MPA practitioners. More detailed information will be compiled using a questionnaire. The review will help to identify common methodologies, approaches and difficulties in establishing MPA systems and to compare the results of this analysis with the theoretical recommendations and principles that are being developed and promoted. The outputs will include a report containing a summary of the inventory and the lessons learned, and outlining preliminary guidance for MPA system establishment, as well as a range of web-based materials.
Marine Protected Areas Leaflet A3 [Download]
Marine Protected Areas News April 2006 [Download]
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