Life on earth began in the seas which harbors a wider range of biological diversity than land. Despite the fact that a majority of life forms exist in the oceans and seas, and that they are, the biggest provider of human sustenance in many countries and the most common means of goods transport, they are increasingly becoming degraded due to wide neglect and their status as common property.
IUCN defines marine protected areas as: "Any area of intertidal or sub-tidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment," MPAs are ocean areas that have been demarcated with limited human activity, or in some cases total prohibition, to conserve and protect the natural marine resources, ecosystems and genetic diversity. In addition to ecological objectives marine protected areas also serve to ensure human welfare, education, recreation and cultural preservation. They are generally governed with more stringent regulations than surrounding areas.
Despite two thirds of the earth surface is covered by oceans, marine protected areas only makes up a fraction of terrestrial protected areas. Coastal areas remain poorly represented in the national protected area networks of the countries participating in MFF, and many vitally important or threatened coastal ecosystems do not have protected status. Greater representation is required to address these gaps in coverage, and to ensure that critical ecosystems are conserved.
As part of the MFF preparatory activities a gap analysis to review existing protected area coverage, identify regionally or nationally under-represented ecosystems, and recommend areas in need of additional protection was conducted. The MFF countries are at different stages in developing their protected area systems, and needs vary accordingly. Even where good intended protected areas have been established in coastal areas, some remain “paper parks”, as there is weak capacity and inadequate funding to manage them effectively. There is also a strong need to support measures to improve management effectiveness, including designing protected areas for resilience linked to climate change, improved integration with tourism, support to participatory management approaches, improving buffer zone management, and identifying sustainable financing mechanisms. MFF has approved its first large project under this PoW,” Evaluating and improving the management effectiveness of Thailand's Marine and Coastal Protected Areas.
For details about Actions, Outputs and Results, click [ + ]
|Programmes of Work||Actions/Outputs||Contribution to results|
|13. Building national systems of marine and coastal protected areas that contribute to a regional network||
Returning mangroves to Tanjung Panjang, Indonesia © IUCN, 2018
Mangrove forests worldwide have been vanishing at astonishing rates. Tanjung Panjang, Indonesia, which has lost over 60% of its mangroves in the last 3 decades, exemplifies this trend. The creation of aquaculture in nature reserves has in part led to this decrease in mangrove cover. With the help of IUCN's Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), local experts and several NGOs are working with current land users and the local government to restore forest landscapes and strive for a more sustainable future.
Kochi, India 28 Oct 2013
Representatives from more than 12 countries attended a Regional Fisheries Symposium from October 28 to 30 in Kochi, India with the goal of exploring ecosystem-based approaches to protecting fisheries and marine biodivers...