The first of three twinning projects being set up through the Transatlantic MPA network has started work, with a first meeting of participants in Monaco in early April.
The Transatlantic MPA Networks Twinning Project aims to improve cooperation between networks of marine protected areas in the Atlantic basin, with the objective of strengthening the effective management of MPAs and improving conservation results.
MPA networks provide a platform for managers of marine protected areas to cooperate and share knowledge. The networks thus act as a catalyst and facilitator for the development of well-managed ecological networks in a given region.
Regional MPA networks participating in the twinning project are the Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Managers Network and Forum (CaMPAM), Mediterranean Network of Marine Protected Areas Managers (MedPAN), Regional Network of Marine Protected Areas in West Africa (RAMPAO), and North American Marine Protected Areas Network (NAMPAM). Two national institutions, the French Agency for Biodiversity and the Biodiversity Foundation from Spain, which work with MPA networks on behalf of their governments, also joined the meeting.
“By improving cooperation between networks of MPAs, the twinning project will enable our MPA managers to share day-to-day experiences with MPA managers from far and wide, to debate and discuss issues, gain new technical skills and understand that conservation is a global issue and needs to be to be tackled in global way,” said Marie-Suzanna TRAORÉ, General Secretary of RAMPAO. “The twinning project is definitely a way to keep this momentum going within the RAMPAO region.”
The twinning project will undertake the following activities:
- Identify the key actions that networks are doing to support the effective management of MPAs;
- Showcase the value of working at a Transatlantic scale, raising the profile of what they do, and contribute towards resource mobilisation for future networking;
- Draft and develop a joint action plan and/or strategy by the participating networks;
- Connect with MPAs that are not yet linked to any existing network; and
- Reinforce national MPA networks and promote new regional MPA networks
Participants at the first meeting discussed issues of common interest to the regional MPA networks, including:
- MPA databases: how to cooperate to improve data collection and sharing, monitoring and awareness-raising;
- Shared tools: to facilitate information exchange, expert advice and compare management practice;
- Capacity-building: options for staff exchanges, training and study visits, and pooling of experts;
- Standardised monitoring to inform management: the need to translate or package global and regional data (possibly by thematic area) to make it useful for management proposals on the ground;
- Sharing guidance on climate change: how networks can advise MPA managers and planners on best practice;
- The development of a fundraising strategy to enable continued cooperation between Atlantic MPA networks after 2017;
- Advocacy: how networks can contribute to MPA management effectiveness through their input to international conferences (IMPAC4, UN Conference on SDG 14, EU ‘Our Ocean’ conference, and UNFCCC’s COP 23).
The twinning project’s main workshop is planned for July.
How do MPA networks facilitate capacity building for MPA managers? Two of the twinning project partners share details of their activities:
Mediterranean Network of Marine Protected Areas Managers (MedPAN)
MedPAN organises yearly thematic workshops, exchange visits and regional trainings, and produces operational tools to capitalize on and share lessons learnt. A permanent and operational mechanism for MPA training will soon be developed.
MedPAN provides direct support to MPA managers through calls for small projects (more than 30 small projects supported since 2011).
MedPAN reinforces sharing and exchanges with updated on current MPA management achievements and success stories through its website and e-newsletter.
Strong partnerships with scientists are developed to reinforce science-based management of MPAs including knowledge on socio-economic benefits of MPAs.
Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Managers Network and Forum (CaMPAM)
CaMPAM runs a ‘Training of trainers’ programme on MPA management that includes an annual regional course, alternating English and Spanish, plus local follow-up training activities (12 editions since 1999).
Its web communication tool, CaMPAM List, disseminates almost daily information (news, reports, publications, events, job opportunities, calls for proposals, best practices, etc.) with its 1 000 or so members, and is used by individuals and institutions to reach out to the Caribbean marine conservation science and management community.
The CaMPAM grant programme provides technical assistance for small to mid-size projects including learning exchanges of MPA managers, fishers and other stakeholders; and financial support to improve their institutions.
CaMPAM coordinates a regional MPA database and also represents the region’s MPA managers at international conferences.