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Today we've been looking at tools for management and enforcement.
According to Day 3 facilitators Olivier Laroussinie (French MPA Agency) and Dan Laffoley (IUCN), today's exchanges demonstrated the real value of bringing everyone together. From one congress to the next, surprising new tools keep being invented. This can be a double-edged sword: technological advances provide a much clearer image, but at the same time require much more accurate data. So while processing capabilities increase, they induce a need for ever-larger amounts of information, which take time and resources to collect.
But existing concepts are also refined, and sometimes questioned. For instance, the last few years saw a lot of emphasis on stakeholder engagement, but now we're hearing that stakeholders are not only fishers and recreational users, but also the authorities themselves, whose own needs and objectives must not be pushed to the background.
Examining tools such as management plans often led to a discussion of governance, quite understandably given the intimate connection between both subjects. But that is tomorrow's topic.
In the conclusive plenary session, the following panelists were invited to share their thoughts on the day's proceedings:
Fanny Douvere, Unesco: "We are arriving at a critical mass where things can change for the better. But we need to share best practices in a more efficient way."
"We need better funding. Marine sites of the world heritage list now represent 25 percent of the ocean's protected surface, yet they operate on an extremely tight budget."
"MPA managers do not fully realize the power of international legal instruments. If we could mobilize them to turn our local concerns into international issues, we could state our case much more powerfully than we are today."
Alfredo Simao da Silva, Institute for Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas (IBAP), Guinea-Bissau: "I heard of lot of talk about participative management and stakeholder engagement. But we mustn’t forget that MPAs need institutions, too, and that these need sustainable financing. To obtain it, managers must demonstrate that MPAs bring economic benefits in the long run. We need tools that will allow them to argue their case convincingly."
Alistair Gammel, Pew Charitable Trusts: "When I hear of stakeholder engagement, I ask: who exactly are these stakeholders and what weight are we prepared to give them? Should all stakeholders have equal weight? It is not possible to accommodate all competing interests within the same space. Putting the question differently, can you allow stakeholders to do anything inside a protected area – including fishing very large amounts – and still call it protected?"
Julien Calas, French Global Environment Facility (FFEM): "I travel in a lot of developing countries and I have rarely seen a marine protected area where things are going smoothly. Managers are not clamoring not for new international strategies, they just want means and tools to carry out their mission locally. Funding is inadequate. Yet increasingly, it is awarded only to people who can produce evidence that their actions lead to measurable benefits. Unless you can put a figure on those benefits, you're out. But assessing them convincingly takes time and money in the first place!"
Olivier Laroussinie and Dan Laffoley then asked the panelists about their wish list for the four coming years, between now and IMPAC4.
Fanny Douvere: More connections between sites and more capacity sharing.
Alistair Gammel: Many more protected areas, large and small, and more international cooperation for enforcement in the surveillance of the high seas.
Julien Calas: More managers who recognize that adequate conservation is a matter of adequate funding, and who dare speak out to demand it.