Resilience twinning


The aim of the Resilience twinning (‘Resilience twinning – Marine and Coastal Protected areas coping with rapid changes’) was to reinforce the capacities of MPA managers to develop and implement Resilience Based Management (RBM), which both increased the resilience of their MPA and the contribution of MPAs to coastal resilience and surrounding coastal territories.

In many countries of the Atlantic Basin, economic activities are increasingly concentrated near the coast, prompting populations to leave rural hinterlands for the coast. The coastal zone and by extension the marine landscape are predicted to experience significant changes that are already unfolding, due to demography, migration, and economic developments. The growth in coastal urbanisation as well as in industrial, port, energy and other infrastructure all contribute to natural ecosystem conversion and ecological service losses. In African countries the trend is particularly significant, with population growth taking place in peri-urban coastal lowlands of poor value, exposed to marine flooding. The changes are not always accompanied by adequate spatial planning processes and policies, and risk undermining the role and resilience of marine protected areas, along with the services they provide to support ecosystems and biodiversity. To respond, MPAs must be prepared to cope with rapidly changing environments, while their managers face a cultural shift to become active players in sustainable coastal development, adaptation and risk reduction.

During the earlier Transatlantic MPA project the Resilience twinning developed a set of guidelines on resilience to serve as a practical tool for MPA managers. The guidelines provide instruction on use of a Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (R-SAT), a demo version of which was made available online and tested in 14 MPAs.

The main results expected of the current twinning were as follows:

  1. The twinning extended its coverage of topics – in earlier projects it focused on MPAs coping with rapid changes (e.g. urbanisation) and managing uncertainty (e.g. climate change impacts) – to address new topics on Resilience Based Management (RBM), coral reef and mangrove restoration, responding to new diseases affecting coral reefs in the Atlantic and SE Asia, sargassum aggregations, improving turtle conservation and ensuring resilience of MPA infrastructure.
  2. The twinning expanded to include new partners representing a geographical enlargement (in Africa and to the higher latitudes of the Atlantic, both north and south), and also reached out to new partners in SE Asia.
  3. The technical capacities of MPA managers were strengthened (through improving and updating the resilience toolkit and guidelines, making it available in other languages and providing other resources on resilience to MPA managers).
  4. The coherence and outreach of the resilience twinning was be enhanced by exploiting synergies between the three twinning projects.
  5. The twinning advocated for policy support to boost MPA management effectiveness in resilience, for example by promoting the mainstreaming of resilience in MPA management plans and the need to evaluate MPAs’ resilience capacities.


Cozumel Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)​, Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Puerto Morelos (Mexico)​, CONANP + 16 MPA managers Caribbean and Pacific​, Jacques Cousteau Estuarine Research Reserve (USA)​, National Estuarine Research Reserve network (30 reserves)​, 8 managers East Coast: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia​, Directorate of Community MPAs (Senegal)​, RAMPAO​, Parque Nacional Abrolhos Bank​, Ecological Complex of Florianopolis​, ONG NEMA​, ICMBIO Initiative BIG and reserves of Rio de Janeiro State​, TAMAR Project​, 15 Managers from Federal MPAs​, Université d’Algarve​, National Natural Parks Colombia​, Nature Conservation Division of Comoros​, Parc Naturel Marin de la Martinique

Resilience twinning

Images: (top) Sea anemone. Credit: Eva Tillmann. (right) Resilience Twinning video call. Credit: Ocean Governance project.

Participating in the Ocean Governance project has significantly expanded my vision of the management of marine-coastal protected areas. From my change of perspective, I have been seeking to share with the managers of these areas in Brazil, as well as hoping to integrate them and give impetus to initiatives such as the creation of a network of Brazilian managers and also to incorporate discussion, evaluation and actions relating to the resilience of our areas. I look forward to ICMBio becoming an official partner of the project again in 2023.

Marcia Strapazzon, ICMBio