From the Transatlantic MPA project towards Ocean Governance Project

The final conference closing the second phase of the Cooperation with northern and southern transatlantic dimension project was held in Brussels, Belgium on 18th-19th November 2019. The aim of the event was to present the main findings and results of the implementation of the project.

The conference was attended by most of the three twinning projects partners,  one member of the former Advisory Board, a number of MPA mangers and representatives from national agencies and other actors participated in different past activities or that will be involved in the new Ocean Governance Project. High level officials from the European institutions also took part in the event.

The twinning project coordinator presented a summary of each twinning during Phase I, and the main activity developed and the outcomes achieved during Phase II.  In addition of the coordinators’ presentations, there were interventions from each twinning partner focusing on the benefits that the transatlantic project provided to them and their interest in continuing involved in future exchanges. The exchanges among participants about the lessons-learnt along the three twinning projects in both phases (I & II) allowed to confirm and to go deeper on the relevant issues to which the twinning projects are contributing, such as:

  • The international commitments related to marine and coastal biodiversity (Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets and specifically in this period the Post 2020 Process, Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change Paris Agreement, EU Directives, etc.);
  • Linking management actions with the national and international political agendas on MPAs;
  • Building sustainability by means of improving the management of MPAs;
  • Creating a space of networking and partnership in the Atlantic to tackle the same goals from different cultures in different biogeographic and socioeconomic contexts;
  • Strengthening the importance of MPA management and MPA networking in the international political agenda; and
  • Challenges and opportunities for the way forward, key actors, resources and mechanisms:
    • The role of regional MPA networks supporting national MPA networks and thematic MPA managers networks;
    • The Transatlantic MPA network as a unique model to enhance management capacity for MPAs;
    • Replicability of the model in other oceans.

The Final conference was also an opportunity to strengthening the linkages between the three twinning projects as well as the link between this Transatlantic MPA Project Phase II and the new Ocean Governance Project that will begin in January 2020.


Marine and coastal biodiversity discussed during a workshop

The coordinator of the Transatlantic MPA project, Ms. Maria Purificació Canals Ventín, participated in the thematic workshop on marine and coastal biodiversity for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework held within the ‘2020 Ocean Pathways Meeting: Charting the Course for a Sustainable Future for the Ocean’. The event took place in Montreal, Canada, from 13 till 15 November 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to deliver concrete proposals to be considered in the post-2020 framework regarding oceans.

Ms. Canals Ventín, who is also in charge with the MPA Networks twinning of the Transatlantic MPA project was present during a joint session, Chaired by Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. The aim of the session was to find synergies between the SDG14, the 2020 UN Ocean Conference and the CBD Marine Post 2020.

During the workshop on marine and coastal biodiversity breakout sessions were organised to discuss different topics such as the exploitation of marine living resources, marine pollution, important marine ecosystems, ecosystem restoration, threatened, endangered and declining species. The Transatlantic MPA project coordinator facilitated the session discussions on “Area-based planning and conservation measures”. This was a good opportunity to share with other participants the on-line contributions of the MPA networks twinning project partners.

Before the thematic discussions, there were a series of plenary presentations on topics of interest for ocean conservation as well as on the current status and trends in marine and coastal biodiversity.

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The Transatlantic MPA Networks project was presented during the III Latin America and Caribbean congress of protected areas

The III Latin America and Caribbean congress of protected areas (CAPLAC3) took place at the Conventions Centre of Lima, Peru from 14 to 17 October 2019. The topic of this year’s event was “Solutions for wellbeing and sustainable development”.

The Transatlantic MPA project was presented by its coordinator and moderator of the MPA Networks twinning, Ms. Maria Purificació Canals Ventín and the moderator of the Resilience twinning, Mr. Jean-Jacques Goussard. Three presentations were made focusing on each of the three twinning projects: MPA networks of mangers, resilience and marine mammals and were included in the following sessions: Protected areas as guarantors of nature services for the economy, ecological integrity and culture and Marine Protected Areas and Resource management.

A special parallel event “Transatlantic exchange experiences in management of marine protected areas: Benefits for the Latin American area and the Caribbean” was organised by the Transatlantic MPA project. During the event a general overview of the project was made. A discussion was held as well with the participants about the interest of the transatlantic exchanges for Latin American managers.

The congress is an initiative of IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) that brings together societal actors to strengthen their capacities as a mean of promoting protected areas as nature-based solution to the challenges facing society.  Around 2500 people attended the large number of events included in the programme.

The CAPLAC 3 concluded on October 17 with the ”Lima Declaration”, a call to the governments of the region to increase their ambition against the protection of their natural wealth. The representatives of the 33 governments that signed the Declaration of Lima outlined in it the lines of action for the next decade that will be of “vital importance” in the face of the environmental crisis and in which the agendas of climate change, sustainable development and nature should be articulated.


Partners of the three twinnings discussed the progress of the Transatlantic MPA project

The partners of the three twinnings within the Transatlantic MPA projects gathered at an intertwining workshop in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, from 10th till 13th September 2019.

The aim of the meeting was to review the progress on the implementation of the activities planned under each of the twinning projects:

  • Cooperation and common strategy between MPA networks of managers in the Atlantic region;
  • MPAs and coastal resilience, coping with rapid changes;
  • Marine mammals’ protection, a way to enhance transatlantic cooperation between MPAs.

The twinning partners were welcomed by Mr. Ricardo Carvalhido, Councillor of the Environment and Biodiversity of Viana do Castelo.  Mr. Daniel van Assche, Project Manager at Foreign Policy Instruments Service, European Commission, presented the EU priorities to tackle Global Challenges regarding Biodiversity and more specifically how to get marine biodiversity higher in the agenda; Climate change; and Ocean governance for save secure and clean oceans.

During the joint and the separate sessions the participants discussed the twinning activities, past and future, the tools developed and the timeline for the next steps.


Actions to improve management and effectiveness of Atlantic MPAs discussed during a workshop

The Second workshop of the MPA Networks Twinning project took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 16 till 18 July 2019. The event was organised within the EU funded Transatlantic MPA Networks project and was hosted by the Government of Dominican Republic.

The three-day event gathered the partners from CaMPAM, MedPAN, NAMPAN, RAMPAO and the French Biodiversity Agency. The Transatlantic MPA project was presented by Ms Maria Purificació Canals Ventín, Project coordinador and moderator of the MPA Networks Twinning.

During the workshop the participants exchanged views on the management tools developed by the twinning projects on resilience and marine mammals’ protection. The possible actions on how to influence policies to support effective MPA management and how to jointly mobilize resources for MPA networks activity were also discussed.

The meeting took place at the Ministry of Environment and the partners were welcomed by Mr José Manuel Mateo, Director General of Biodiversity and his team. The event was organized with the support of CaMPAM-SPAW of the Cartagena Convention, partner of the project and crucial actor for MPAs in the Caribbean.

The participants were invited by the Dominican Authorities to visit the National Park of “Los Haitises” where best practices were presented and on the spot discussions were organised.


Guidelines to integrate resilience issues into MPAs management plans discussed during a workshop

The second workshop for the twinning project “MPAs and coastal resilience, coping with rapid changes” was held in Cozumel, Mexico, on 28-30 May 2019. The event was hosted by CONANP Mexico.

The workshop brought together the partners of MPAs and coastal resilience twinning project.

One of the main objectives of the workshop was to assess and discuss the results of the review of Resilience guidelines to integrate resilience issues into MPAs management plans and management effectiveness evaluation. During the last workshop in Florianopolis in November 2018 the partners of the twinning project started building a set of criteria that should have to be considered to increase the resilience of MPAs. More than 20 reviewers have been working on the document and their comments and observations were presented. The partners also prepared the roadmap for the finalization of the document and its presentation.

During the meeting the team was informed about of the developments to come concerning the Transatlantic partnership for MPAs.

The guidelines are expected to be validated during a workshop in September 2019.


The Transatlantic MPA Project involved in the release of the global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services

The Transatlantic MPA Network Project Coordinator, Ms. Maria Purificació Canals Ventín, participated at the Seventh session of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-7), held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, from 29 April until 2 May 2019. During the event Ms. Canals Ventín followed the negotiations of the working group on the Summary for policy makers of the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Another working group discussed the Platform’s future work programme.

The Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the first comprehensive intergovernmental biodiversity assessment since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005. It provides evidence for informed action by governments, private sector, and civil society. The report gives an overview of biodiversity and ecosystem trends and examines them in relation to key goals of the international environmental agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is expected the Assessment to be an important input to the development of the post-2020 biodiversity framework.

The section about the current status and trends in nature, nature’s contributions to people, and drivers of change, highlights that the rate of global change in nature during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history. It underscores five direct drivers that are valid for both, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and have the largest global impact, which, in order of descending importance, are:

  • changes in land and sea use;
  • direct exploitation of organisms;
  • climate change;
  • pollution; and
  • invasion of alien species.
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The Transatlantic MPA Project presented during the ICMMPA 5

The Project Coordinator, Ms. Maria Purificació Canals Ventín, attended the 5th International Congress on Marine Mammals Protected Areas (ICMMPA 5), held in Costa Navarino, Greece, from 8 until 12 April 2019. During the event the Transatlantic MPA project co-organized two of the congress sessions.

The session “Towards building a global networking mechanism of MPA managers & practitioners: Promoting ecological solidarity” was co-organized with MedPAN and the French Biodiversity Agency). The main outcomes of the Transatlantic MPA Network Project were presented.  The three twinning projects and their contribution to the global networking around MPA management were also highlighted.

The second session “Incorporating marine mammal conservation needs in MPA management plans emphasised the progress in the development of an “add-on” / “plug-in” for the main tools to measure management effectiveness. It was pointed out that the aim is to help MPA managers to track how marine mammals are integrated into the management plan and how they could be even better integrated. The session was co-organized with MedPAN and CARIMAM Network, Agoa Sanctuary, and the French Biodiversity Agency.

In addition of the Project Coordinator, there was direct involvement of some of the partners of the marine mammals’ and MPA networks twinning projects: the French Biodiversity, MedPAN, Stellwagen Bank, Iceland University and Agoa Sanctuary.


Integration of marine mammals into management plans for MPA

Workshop outlined roadmap for guidelines

The first workshop of the twinning project “Marine mammals’ protection, a way to enhance Transatlantic cooperation between MPAs” was held on 4-6 February 2019, in La Martinique and was hosted by the DEAL Martinique. The meeting was organized in partnership with the CARiMAM project and the French Biodiversity Agency.

Under the new phase of the Transatlantic MPA project the main objective of the twinning is to develop “guidelines” on how to integrate marine mammals into management plans (for MPA). The aim of the first workshop was to develop the roadmap and timeframe for the development of the guidelines. In addition, the participants explored how the twinning can contribute to the sessions to be held at the 5th International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas – “Towards building a global networking mechanism of MPA managers & practitioners: Promoting ecological solidarity” and “Incorporating marine mammal conservation needs in MPA management plans”.

The Resilience Twinning project, its main findings and key messages were also presented during the workshop.

The meeting gathered representatives from CARiMAM, the National Directorate of Environment of Cape Verde, Reserve Naturelle de St-Martin / Agoa sanctuary, University of Iceland, Marine Park of the Azores, “Yarari” marine mammal and shark sanctuary, NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Megaptera.

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Networks of MPA managers to accelerate progress towards Aïchi target 11

The Transatlantic MPA network Project participated at the Fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Sharm-El-Shaik, Egypt, 17-29 November 2018. A side event “Networks of MPA managers to accelerate progress towards Aïchi target 11” was co-organized together with the partners of the MPA networks twinning project (MedPAN, CaMPAM, NAMPAN, RAMPAO, the French biodiversity Agency and Fundación Biodiversidad), that took place on 21 November 2018.

The aim of the side event was to show the value and the role of networks of MPA managers at different levels (regional, sub-regional, national, or thematic) to accelerate the progress towards the qualitative aspects of Aïchi target 11, mainly the effective management of MPAs. Actions and activities implemented by the networks were showcased. The initiative of a common strategy among different regional and national networks at transatlantic level and the potential to enlarge this approach worldwide was highlighted. In addition to the networks the event counted to the active contribution of countries that are also involved in the project, such as Brazil and Mexico.

The Project Coordinator, Ms. Maria Purificació Canals Ventín, attended the meeting, followed the negotiations related to marine protected areas and other ocean issues, and participated in other events and sessions. She also delivered closing remarks at the special one-day event “Sustainable Ocean Day: Ocean Voices” organized by the Sustainable Ocean Initiative of the CBD.