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.