In late spring 2023, the Ocean Governance project’s resilience twinning partnership organised two ‘training of trainers’ (ToT) workshops to enable professionals working in MPA management to understand risk and resilience issues and practise using the Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (R-SAT) developed by the twinning.

The workshops were held in Brazil and Colombia, after the US in April, and comprised a presentation of the Resilience Self -Assessment  tool, practice in carrying out collective and individual MPA resilience assessments, group discussions of results and recommendations, and gave participants the skills to train others in how to apply the R-SAT tool.

22 MPAs represented

Thirteen people attended the training event in Brazil, which took place in Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo state on 23-25 May 2023, including the managers of 10 federal MPAs, 1 state MPA, and officials from the Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade

The Colombia workshop, which took place in Cartagena de Indias on 13-15 June 2023, was attended by 15 professionals, including 11 MPA managers from sites governed by the national parks agency, Parques Nacionales Naturales Colombia, plus 4 agency officials. For the twinning, Lilian Wetzel and Jean-Jacques Goussard facilitated the training.

Brazil, the country with the largest national Atlantic façade, is a historical partner of the resilience twinning, having joined during the earlier EU Transatlantic Partnership Project on MPAs. Colombia was the first opportunity for the twinning to present the R-SAT tool in a country with both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines on the invitation of a national authority.

Learning from good practice elsewhere

The resilience partnership facilitators presented the EU Ocean Governance project and the resilience twinning itself, sharing examples of “good practices” developed by the project’s partners in the USA (New Jersey), Senegal, Brazil, Gabon, Mexico and Portugal to deal with rapid changes, such as climate change and tourism impacts, within and around MPAs.

They then presented the R-SAT platform and kit, showing resources, number of assessments and countries and feedback from managers. They introduced the criteria and explained how to insert data into the platform, produce results from the web platform, and provided comments on patterns of results and future developments.

Following a ‘live’ assessment

In each workshop, one MPA manager then conducted an open assessment of their MPA, coached by a facilitator, allowing others to observe the evaluation process. In the Brazil workshop, this was carried out by the manager of a protected area affected by the 2015 Samarco dam disaster in Minas Gerais. In the workshop in Mexico, the manager of Gorgona Island National Park MPA in the Pacific conducted the live assessment.

Then the participants did their own self-assessments offline, discussing common issues with each other and the trainers, before uploading their data onto the platform.

In the Brazil workshop, the group spent time on the following day looking at their results and discussing patterns in the analysis graphs – noticing for example differences in results of longer-established and newer MPAs. In both trainings , participants learned how to retrieve assessment data, analyse graphs, and make recommendations, using 3 MPAs as the basis for this analysis.

The twinning team collected feedback from the participants in both workshops about the tool and the training itself, discussing how both could be developed and applied more widely in each country. Both events were highly successful and instructive for participants and the twinning partnership alike.

Next training: Mexico

A final training is scheduled with Mexico’s national protected areas agency, the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP), at the beginning of October, for 22 MPA managers from Mexico’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts.