Capacity Development on Effective Management of Marine Protected Areas in the Western Indian Ocean Region
This workshop will take place between 1 – 4 November 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The objective will be to train and develop the capacity of MPA managers and OECM practitioners on effective and sustainable management of marine and coastal resources in the Western Indian Ocean Region. Specifically, the training will entail regional diagnosis of challenges and priorities facing MPAs; MPA certification, developing and implementing adaptive management and monitoring plans; setting new MPA management standards and reporting in line with SDG 14 and the Global Biodiversity Framework.
Find the relevant meeting documents here.
Enhancing Marine Conservation in the Western Indian Ocean:
Capacity Development on Effective Management of Marine Protected Areas in the Region
The Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Network (WIOMPAN) Learning Workshop took place between 1-4 November 2023. It was co-hosted by UNEP- Nairobi Convention ACP MEAs III programme, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, the Varuna program, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Minderoo Foundation, and the Marine Parks and Reserves Unit of Tanzania.
This workshop aimed to address the challenges facing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Coastal Managed Areas (CMAs) in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. It primarily focused on enhancing the capacity of national MPA managers and practitioners of Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECM) while promoting sustainable coastal and marine resource management. The key objectives included regional challenge assessments, MPA certification, development of adaptive management and monitoring plans, establishing new MPA management standards, and aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) and the Global Biodiversity Framework.
Spotlight on Challenges and Priorities
The first day of the workshop brought together a diverse array of participants, including MPA directors, managers, rangers, and representatives from organizations deeply engaged in Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) under the Nairobi Convention. During this session, a range of critical priorities and challenges were identified. MPA directors emphasized the importance of having qualified and experienced staff, securing adequate budgets, implementing adaptive management practices, strengthening law enforcement, and ensuring the availability of necessary equipment and infrastructure for effective management. Site-level managers and rangers expressed that they faced their own set of challenges, including the shortage of skilled personnel, difficulties in keeping management plans current and relevant, and the struggle to achieve a shared vision and common interests among various stakeholders. Additionally, community representatives and NGOs pointed out the significant hurdles of lacking legal recognition for LMMAs, facing lengthy bureaucratic approval processes for management plans, and the need for capacity building to overcome obstacles in community-managed areas.
These revelations underscore the complex landscape of marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean and the pressing need for comprehensive solutions to address these critical priorities and challenges. As stakeholders from various sectors collaborate, it becomes evident that the success of marine conservation efforts in the region depends on innovative approaches and collaborative strategies that address these multifaceted issues, ensuring the sustainability and protection of this vital ecosystem.
Spotlight on Solutions
Building on the insights gained from the first day, the second day of the workshop focused on in-depth discussions regarding potential solutions for the identified priorities and challenges. The workshop encouraged collaboration and knowledge exchange, drawing from partners like the Swedish Agency for Water Management (SWAM) and experienced professionals in MPA and community area conservation.
The Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas
The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including rare, endemic, and endangered marine species in critical habitats, numerous islets, and atolls. With a vast coastline, a large continental shelf area, and a combined population of approximately 244 million, the region spans ten countries, all Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention.
The economic exploitation of marine and coastal resources in the WIO region has posed a challenge, balancing economic development with conservation. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been advocated as a tool for enhancing sustainability. MPAs aim to achieve long-term biodiversity conservation, promote sustainable use, and provide crucial tools for safeguarding natural resources while preserving endangered ecosystems and habitats.
The Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Outlook, designed to address COP commitments, reviews government commitments to achieve 10% protection of marine and coastal areas through effectively managed MPAs. The WIO region has 143 MPAs, covering 7% of the combined exclusive economic zone and 17% of the coastline. The focus of conservation has shifted from small no-take zones to larger areas with diverse zoning schemes that permit multiple uses.
The Outlook highlights the importance of improving MPA management effectiveness and recommends key actions, including appointing qualified personnel, updating management plans, enforcing laws, community development programs, regional monitoring, and secure budget allocation for MPA management.
The Nairobi Convention is dedicated to supporting governments in fulfilling their obligations as parties to MEAs and addressing environmental challenges, focusing on Ocean Governance and the sustainable management of MPAs in the WIO region. Collaborating with various partners, the convention is actively working towards the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in this critical area.