The Ocean Governance team were among over 1 250 delegates from 49 countries who attended the Second Asia Parks Congress in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from 25 to 29 May 2022. The Congress was jointly organised by Sabah Parks, Malaysia, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It brought together Asia’s protected area practitioners and relevant stakeholders in the region. Under the theme “Parks for Nature and People”, the delegates shared their experiences and discussed how to respond to the challenges of the 21st century while focusing on the relationship between nature and society.
Touching a broad spectrum of topics, our team members spoke at five events and represented the Ocean Governance project. Firstly, our transboundary cooperation expert Charles Besancon highlighted the role of the regional networks and institutions in the management of Marine Protected Areas. On the same day, Francis Staub (Marine Mammals Twinning Coordinator) presented the Marine Mammals Toolkit, a tool developed within the framework of the Marine Mammals Twinning Project (find out more here). The Marine Mammals Toolkit was also presented at another event by Jean-Jacques Goussard (Coastal Resilience Twinning Coordinator), alongside the Coastal Resilience Self-Assessment Tool. He also participated in a debate around Effective Protected and Conserved Areas. Lastly, our South East Asia Expert Veda Santiaji spoke at the side event “Connecting MPA practitioners with Solutions for Showcasing and Strengthening MPA Management Effectiveness“. He highlighted the importance of capacity building to local communities and their involvement in protecting their seas.
Find the final declaration of the Congress here.
On 3-5 May 2022, the Ocean Governance project held the first Marine Mammals Twinning partners’ workshop of the year, in Cambridge, England.
The more than 15 workshop participants, joining either in-person or online, came from the USA, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, among others, came to recap what has been achieved and accomplished so far in the framework of Marine Mammals Twinning, and to set priorities for 2022. The accessibility of the Self-Assessment Tool and more widespread use of the toolkit were further topics at the centre of discussion.
The workshop started with introductions from all partners and guests, including presentations on the current and future management practices for marine mammals within their organisations, and national and regional contexts. Special attention was given to the growing threats to marine mammals in each particular context.
In line with the 2022 Plan of Action, the workshop discussed the development of a ‘light’ version of the Self-Assessment Tool (“SAT-LITE”). In smaller break-out groups, the participants went over the current Self-Assessment Tool, which composes of more than 120 questions, and worked on breaking it down to fewer questions while keeping each core theme represented. The idea is that MPA managers would start with the light assessment, which will then reveal whether using the full assessment tool would prove beneficial.
Moreover, the idea to adapt the Self-Assessment Tool to other migratory species, particularly pinnipeds and marine turtles, was further developed. Other topics of discussion included capacity building and training, voluntary certification and support for MPA managers.
It was extremely positive to see how solution-oriented the participants were. Ideas for solutions could be collected for the improvement of training, overcoming barriers to MPA managers and more effective implementation of the toolkit generally.
One product of the workshop is a Community of Practice, which aims to offer a combination of building local and national capability, voluntary certification and access to helpful resources and support programmes. With this, the Ocean Governance project hopes create a strong network of MPA managers, both from MPAs and Marine Mammal Sanctuaries, who all apply the Self-Assessment Tool and can use the network to share good practices. It will provide a first point of contact to discuss management weaknesses and implementation with established marine sanctuaries, such as Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
The workshop was highly productive and reaffirmed the need for the Twinning and the Marine Mammals Toolkit. We believe that the new network of managers will constitute a stepping stone towards more effective implementation of the toolkit, and ultimately lead to more protection for marine mammals, who are so vital to our ecosystems.
Senegal in West Africa is especially dynamic both in terms of coastal resilience development and creating marine protected areas, six of which been set up in the last two years. The Ocean Governance project’s Resilience Partnership has also in recent years developed a close collaboration with its Directorate of Community Marine Protected Areas to ensure the implementation of the Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (R-SAT) across these marine protected areas. It was therefore a natural choice as the location for the annual workshop of the Resilience Partnership, which took place on 3rd-5th May 2022 in Saly, hosted by the National Directorate of Community Marine Protected Areas (DAMCP).
At the workshop, the 14 participants reviewed the annual workplan, shared experiences from their regions and considered future opportunities. They discussed challenges and opportunities regarding the development of new tools and the expansion of R-SAT to the many other MPAs interested in applying it. The meeting was also the occasion to discuss the need to train trainers on R-SAT implementation to develop the directorate’s autonomy in applying the tool in the future. During a field visit, they had the opportunity to meet MPA managers in Senegal who have used the toolkit to evaluate MPA resilience capacities.
About the Resilience Partnership
The Resilience Partnership was developed as a twinning project between MPA managers around the Atlantic basin from 2016. Its objective is to share experiences, tools and approaches regarding management strategies to cope with rapidly changing environments, and the contribution of MPAs to the resilience of coastal areas. The lead partners are situated in Gabon, Senegal, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico and USA. A work programme has also been set up with the West African MPA network (RAMPAO/WAMPAN) and with Senegal’s DAMCP.
Field visit provides chance to meet local users of R-SAT tool
During a field visit to Joal Fadiouth – comprising the important fishing town of Joal and the connected clam-shell island of Fadiouth – the visitors met fishers to view catch sizes, visited mangrove restoration works and discussed MPA managers’ experience of using the R-SAT tool.
“All participants could see that the feedback from these managers was particularly positive, especially as the recommendations from the assessment started to be implemented in the months following the assessment, and have already produced some of the results that were expected. The managers highlighted the easy use of R-SAT, and all the benefits that can be derived from the self-assessment process beyond the direct results of the tool,” noted the workshop report.
The meeting outcomes and recommendations – which focused on how to enhance the R-SAT tool and provide more support to its users – will feed in to an update of the partnership’s action plan.
Senegal’s system of marine protected areas, developed since 1999, currently includes 15 MPAs, covering a total area of 582,523 ha, and protecting 137 km of the country’s 700 km coastline. All the protected areas have a management plan.