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Day 4 Wrap-Up

At IMPAC3, the keywords for Day 4 were Governance, Partnerships and Industry Involvement.

Facilitators François Simard (IUCN) and Christophe Lefebvre (French MPA Agency & IUCN) categorized the outcomes of Friday, Oct. 24, into five broad sets of issues.

  1.  Sustainable financing: Innovative thinking to secure funds is increasingly critical in times of tightening public expenditure.
  2. The high seas: Areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJs) cover half of the ocean, but protecting them remains problematic due not only to physical constraints, but also to as yet unresolved legal issues. There are, however, international sectoral institutions with regulatory mandates in the high seas, such as the International Seabed Authority or regional fisheries management organizations, whose power could be leveraged to the benefit of conservation.
  3. Marine spatial planning: MSP is now recognized as an essential tool to understand how MPAs fit into their environment, how they affect it and where they are most appropriate. But some now argue that MSP must broaden its perspectives to focus less exclusively on natural and economic factors and pay more attention to social interactions.
  4. Partnerships with industry: Many contributions focused specifically on how MPAs and fisheries relate.
  5. Local governance: Processes vary greatly from region to region and from MPA to MPA, but the condition for success is nearly always the same – stakeholder engagement.

François Simard and Christophe Lefebvre then invited panelists to each examine one of these areas more closely, in the light of the day's exchanges.

On financing, John Tanzer (WWF International) underscored that in times of economic downturn, government-consolidated revenue becomes less reliable – the United States being a case in point. MPA managers must therefore think outside the box to generate new income. For inspiration, he mentioned a crowd-sourcing campaign in Colombia, fundraising efforts relying on new social media, trust funds, hotel taxes earmarked for MPAs in Croatia, contributions collected from fisheries operating within an MPA in Madagascar, and the entry fees going to park management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

John Tanzer saw special promise in the last three examples (Croatia, Madagascar and the Great Barrier Reef), because they involve incomes that are internal to MPAs themselves, making them less dependent on the outside.

Imagination is not all, however – finding funds takes skills. Managers must acknowledge their limitations and consider hiring specialists in disciplines where they are not traditionally well versed, such as marketing and financial management.

On the topic of the high seas, Jessica Sanders (FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department Policy, Economics and Institutions Branch) agreed with Simard that one must explore synergies between regional seas conventions and regional fisheries management organizations, based on converging interests and tools – one example of fruitful cooperation being in the North East Atlantic. She pointed out, however, that the two types of institutions don't always overlap geographically, making their integration more complex than might initially appear.

Speaking of Marine Spatial Planning, Carla Montesi (European Union, DG MARE for the Baltic and North Sea) recognized its value not only during the planning stages, to define the perimeter of an MPA, but also for management after the MPA has been created, to organize economic activities within. She said a new, oft-head catchword in today's workshops was "harmony". To achieve it, she argued, offshore and coastal environments must be considered as a whole: MSP must be coordinated with integrated coastal zone management.

Representing the industry, Francis Vallat (French Maritime Cluster) told of his ongoing partnership with the French Marine Protected Agencies. To make it happen, people on both sides had to overcome entrenched mistrust. Man may be creation's top predator, he said, but since getting rid of him was not an option, conservationists in the service of nature and industries in the service of human needs were bound to work together and find a compromise. He foresaw that MPA managers would increasingly turn to industry in the face of dwindling public funds, because industry was willing to put money where its mouth was: in support of sustainable development.

On local governance, Julie Ritz (United Nations Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs) stressed that very different interests compete within marine protected areas. Nevertheless, all stakeholders must sit at the table, including economic ones. Getting them to do so hinges on the ability to be specific about how conservation will affect their activities, how it can improve food security, how it contributes to livelihoods. When people hear about ocean protection, Ritz said, they often think of turtles and dolphins and don't see any connection with their lives. If MPAs can go beyond promising that biodiversity will be restored and explain the benefits, then they will attract more interest.

In the closing words of this plenary where harmony, trust and stakeholder engagement were among the leitmotivs, Sanders asked MPA managers to remain clear-sighted: "If you look at the three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – in resource management in MPAs, as in life in general, you don't very often have win-win-win situations. What you have is win-win-lose, or lose-lose-win… There are always tradeoffs to be made, and we just have to be cognizant of which ones, and how much, and who's winning and who's losing."

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