Towards a Global Network of MPA Managers

Towards a Global Network of MPA Managers

Expanding network collaborations

Over the last four years, the Networks Twinning initiative has made substantial strides in cultivating an extensive network of MPA manager networks worldwide. This progress has been marked by the inclusion of new partners eager to contribute to this inclusive community. Among the recent additions are RedGolfo in the Gulf of Mexico, NEAMPAN in North-East Asia and the Ministry of Environment of Uruguay.

Effective learning exchanges

A standout achievement of the Networks Twinning has been the successful implementation of learning exchanges. These brought together diverse networks and individuals, facilitating structured discussions on various topics. Two impactful exchanges took place this year, before and after the project’s Global Conference in Tarragona, Spain. The first centred around a network effectiveness evaluation framework, which was developed under the twinning and featuring self-evaluation questions. The second comprised an in-depth dialogue between RAMPAO and MedPAN, addressing network structures, operational strategies, challenges, communication management, fundraising and fostering potential collaborations.

Bringing the voice of managers to the international stage

 The Networks Twinning initiative played a pivotal role in empowering MPA managers to collectively amplify their voice on the global stage during prominent international conferences and events. This platform significantly enhanced their visibility and recognition of their role implementing key aspects within international policy frameworks. By convening together, managers participated in significant gatherings such as IMPAC5 and COP28 of UNFCCC, strategically organising and participating in an array of side events. These activities not only drew attention but also underscored the value of MPAs and MPA networks working together.

Advancing global collaboration

The final annual workshop of the Twinning convened in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, hosted by long-time partner the Patagonian Forum and focused on establishing the groundwork for a global network of MPA manager networks. Leveraging the momentum of IMPAC5 and the Global Conference, the workshop moved from concepts to practical considerations. It shaped the network’s vision, mission, goals and objectives, and culminated in a preliminary draft document. It also addressed challenges, such as the need for fundraising and streamlined coordination to ensure sustainability. The roadmap ahead will be to consult all partners to gather vital inputs for the project’s progression.

 Recent initiatives and future outlook

In December, the Networks Twinning organised a well-received webinar about the Marine Turtle Management Guidelines. Produced by MedPAN, the guidelines have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese by the Ocean Governance project under the Networks Twinning, and provide for the inclusion of marine turtles in MPA management plans.

Beyond specific initiatives, the success of this Twinning lies in the vast network of partnerships established globally, including South-East Asian regional partners the Coral Triangle Initiative and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. These connections are poised not just to endure but to thrive, fostering hopes of further expansion and fortified collaborations in the foreseeable future.



Marine Mammals Twinning: Lasting Impact and Resources

Marine Mammals Twinning: Lasting Impact and Resources

A core aim of the Marine Mammal Twinning was to “provide MPA managers with a toolbox (a self-assessment tool to ‘track’ the integration of marine mammals into MPA management plans and a checklist)” whilst “building the technical capacities of MPA managers by sharing knowledge, expertise and good practice”. By creating a peer network to aid other MPA managers, the Twinning has continually supported and engaged with Twinning Partners, key collaborators, and managers, to support the application of the Toolkit, and namely the Self-Assessment Tool. Since the Twinning’s inception, the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit has been disseminated to a wide range of managers, practitioners, and stakeholders through technical workshops, international events and online webinars. Through these efforts, the Toolkit was showcased across 50 dedicated sessions to over 2,500 attendees, leading to the uptake of the Self-Assessment Tool in over 25 MPAs across 19 different countries. And this uptake continues to increase, which in turn requires support and resources to aid managers in the use of the Toolkit, and the Self-Assessment Tool.

Online tutorial videos as permanent supporting resources

Much of this support to date has been provided directly by the Twinning. However, with a recognition of the need for legacy and permanent supporting resources, the Twinning has developed a series of online tutorial videos that aim contains several individual modules (videos) that function as a guide to the use of the Toolkit, with a specific focus on the application and interpretation of the SAT and SAT-LITE:

  1. Introduction to the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit ​

Module 1 introduces the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, its four core components (Factsheets, Self-Assessment Tool, Community of Practice and Good Practices) and why it is important – highlighting the benefits of its use to MPA and marine mammal practitioners.

  1. The Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)​

This instructional video guides users through the use and implementation of the self-assessment tool, otherwise known as the SAT. The SAT has been designed and created for the use of MPA managers and stakeholders, to understand the extent to which marine mammals are included in marine management plans.

  1. Understanding and Interpreting Your Results

This video guides users through the results from the self-assessment and provides guidance and support on how to understand and interpret such results, including the use of factsheets and other resources from the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit.

  1. The SAT-LITE

The SAT-LITE has been created for MPA managers, stakeholder and any other relevant parties to preliminary assess the extent to which marine mammals are included in their management plans. The SAT-LITE can be used as a pre-assessment before undertaking the full-version of the Self-Assessment Tool, or as an intermediary step throughout the Monitoring and Evaluation process of an MPA’s management plan. The module demonstrates the usability of the SAT-LITE, defining its linkages with the SAT and other components in the Toolkit.

All the videos are hosted on the ‘Supporting Resources’ page and link via ‘The Help Desk’ central page

Final Partner’s Workshop

In October 2023, the Marine Mammal Twinning hosted its final Partner’s Workshop in collaboration with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (MA, USA).


Future of the Marine Mammals Toolkit

Beyond these online resources, and with the continued legacy of the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, the Toolkit will continue to be supported, updated and disseminated due to its vital role for not only managers and practitioners, but as a mechanism for countries to implement their international commitments including the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The Toolkit will be hosted via its central platform at and those interested in learning more, utilising the components of the toolkit, or require support to apply the Self-Assessment Tool, can use the “Contact Us” page to contact the Toolkit developers.