Twinning Projects

The project has set up three twinning projects to build partnerships between managers of marine protected areas (MPA) around the Atlantic.

The twinning projects aim to contribute to better MPA management effectiveness for improved conservation of marine ecosystems. The projects were designed to address common challenges facing MPA managers.

With partners from North and South America, Africa and Europe, the twinning projects are establishing genuine transatlantic partnerships around the Atlantic rim.

The three twinning projects are as follows:

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

The projects are introduced briefly below.

Documentation related to the twinning projects is available on the Documents page.

To discuss the twinning projects, visit the Forum.


Networks twinning

Partners in the Networks twinning project:

  • 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)
  • North American Marine Protected Areas Network (NAMPAM)
  • Agence française pour la biodiversité (AFB) (French institution responsible for national MPA network)
  • Fundación Biodiversidad (Spanish institution responsible for national MPA network). 

The Networks twinning project will improve cooperation between networks of MPA managers in the Atlantic region. Other regional and national networks, as well as MPAs that are not part of any network, will be invited to participate.

It will undertake the following activities:

  • Identify key actions that networks are doing to support effective management of MPAs;
  • Showcase the value of working at a transatlantic scale, raising the profile of what they do, and contribute to mobilising resources for future networking;
  • Draft and develop a joint action plan and/or strategy;
  • Connect with MPAs that are not yet linked to any existing network; and
  • Reinforce national MPA networks and promote new regional MPA networks.

Resilience twinning

MPA partners in the resilience twinning project:

  • Abrolhos National Park (Brazil)
  • Emerald Ark ecological complex (Gabon)
  • Cozumel Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
  • Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (USA) 
  • Northern Littoral Natural Park (Portugal, part of a Natura 2000 network site).

The Resilience twinning project aims to develop cooperation between marine protected areas on the Atlantic rim to boost resilience to coastal changes such as rapid population densification and climate impacts.

This project will examine strategies and approaches developed by the MPAs to respond to changes to their environment due to the growing pressure on resources and assets in coastal zones and to climate change, as well as the role of MPAs in reinforcing the resilience of coastal territories and areas.

It will consider issues to support future management planning, such as:

  • How MPAs can contribute to building resilient coastal territories;
  • Strategies that can be applied to anticipate changes and adapt proactively to cope with these changes;
  • How pressures due to the multiplication of coastal defences and coastal hardening can be managed to protect natural coastal ecosystems; and
  • Which research approaches can be developed to contribute more efficiently to the knowledge on climate change effects.

Marine mammals protection twinning

Partners in the marine mammals twinning project:

  • Agoa, an MPA devoted to marine mammal conservation, French West Indies
  • Marine Mammal Sanctuary, Bermuda
  • Azores Marine Park, Azores, Portugal
  • National Directorate of Environment, Republic of Cape Verde

The marine mammals twinning project aims to enhance protection and knowledge of whales in the Atlantic Ocean. An existing whale protection programme in North America and the Caribbean contributes to improving management of this endangered species, from feeding and nursery grounds in the US Gulf of Maine to breeding and calving areas in the Caribbean. However, there is currently no communication with other areas of whales’ Atlantic range: notably a breeding area near Cape Verde and feeding grounds stretching to the north of Iceland and Norway.

The twinning project will add value by promoting collaboration across this wider area – on research, monitoring and outreach programmes – with the aim to contribute to better protection for whales throughout the Atlantic.

Activities may include:

  • Exchange of technical information, scientific data and practical experiences about marine mammals and their respective habitats;
  • Development of methodologies for whale protection within MPAs;
  • Development, coordination, and evaluation of research and monitoring programs and campaigns, outreach and education programs, enforcement methodology, performance assessments, and community involvement mechanism for marine mammals research and marine protected areas; and
  • Support and facilitation for ongoing – and future – agreements and cooperation.