From 18-22 July, our team was honoured to take part in the first Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) in Kigali, Rwanda.
They took the opportunity to meet with other African Marine Protected Areas (MPA) networks and practitioners, and presented the activities of the Resilience and MPA Networks twinning projects.
Technical Director and Networks Twinning Coordinator Puri Canals held a workshop exploring the importance of networks of MPAs including Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs), which was met with great interest and inspired lively discussions among the participants.
The Africa Protected Areas Congress aims to strengthen Africa’s position regarding protected and conserved areas, with the broader goals of economic development and community well-being. The first Congress was jointly organised by the Rwandan Ministry of Environment, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the African Wildlife Foundation. At the Ocean Governance Project, we believe that the protection of marine ecosystems is vital for peace-building and security and therefore appreciate the initiative to have a congress exclusively for the African continent. We are also happy to use this new forum as a platform for exchange with our African partners, among them RAMPAO, National Parks of Senegal, Community MPAs Senegal and Parks Gabon.
Find the Kigali Call to Action here.
From 27 June to 1 July 2022, the global ocean community came together in Lisbon to collectively work towards the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The Conference saw lively participation from 6,000 attendants, including 24 Heads of State, and more than 2,000 civil society representatives. During the conference, the EU Ocean Governance Project held three side-events and made the most of the opportunities to engage and exchange with ocean professionals and partners, as well as to present the work of the project to a broad audience.
The project’s first side-event was dedicated to marine megafauna and how these charismatic species contribute to climate protection. Participants learned about the ecosystem functions of marine megafauna, including cetaceans and other marine mammals, key policy and principles, and their main threats. The speakers highlighted key solutions for their protection and threat mitigation, with a special focus on the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit as a potential solution (read more here). The toolkit was developed by the Ocean Governance Project and its partners and aims to equip MPA managers and policymakers with tools to effectively manage marine mammals.
At a further side-event, Technical Director and Networks Twinning Coordinator Puri Canals presented the Networks of Marine Protected Area Managers and highlighted the importance of regional, sub-regional and national knowledge cooperation. The event featured many speakers from different regions of the world who shared their experience of taking part in the Networks Twinning, and underlined the value of this cooperation. The event showcased the new Global Alliance for Marine Protection (GAMP), which was created with the aim to enhance solutions for effective and sustainably financed MPAs.
The final side-event, “Ocean Governance: MPA Managers at the centre of International Policies”, placed the project partners in the foreground to share their first-hand experience and their role in international ocean governance.
Not only was the UN Ocean Conference an excellent opportunity to meet with our partners and promote the mission of the Ocean Governance Project – its overall outcomes and the voluntary commitments of the participating governments are equally encouraging. It is extremely important to keep this momentum alive and to keep working towards a healthy, protected ocean and resilient coastal ecosystems. The team of the Ocean Governance Project wants to build on the success of the Conference and boost its efforts to protect and restore marine ecosystems.