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By Erich Hoyt

For the past four years, a core group of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has dedicated its time to launching a new tool - Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) - to highlight areas that are important for one or more marine mammal species, and which have the potential to be managed for conservation. These IMMAs are already leading to conservation results.

MPA News

UN report card: 10% MPA coverage target is not met yet, but could be by year’s end

In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity set a series of 20 targets — the Aichi Biodiversity Targets — to protect global biodiversity by 2020, including a target for 10% MPA coverage (Target 11). Now that 2020 is nearly over, the UN has released a final report card on progress toward the targets, and the main takeaway is that none of them has been met completely, including Target 11. However, the 10% MPA coverage figure may be met by the end of this year.

MPA News

When MPA News reported on blue carbon back in 2016, it was still just a concept, discussed as a way that MPAs could help fight climate change. But now two MPA projects are implementing blue carbon strategies as a source of revenue – the first MPAs to do so. They are generating credits based on the tons of carbon their projects have captured and stored, then selling those credits to global buyers who want to offset their own carbon emissions.

This is a whole new way of monetizing MPAs. The timing is potentially good: the global market for carbon credits is expected to grow substantially as nations and other entities, like airlines, strive to meet various emission-reduction commitments. According to one of the projects selling blue carbon credits, the current demand for them may be as much as a thousand times greater than current supply.

MPA News

By Ambassador Teburoro Tito, Chairman of the PIPA Conservation Trust Fund Board

On 11 December 2018, Kiribati made history by being the first country to have its domestic marine conservation initiative recognized by the UN General Assembly as an exemplary model of international cooperation. What is so unique about the Phoenix Islands Protected Area to justify this special mention?

MPA News

By Ton IJlstra

Over the past 20 years, wind energy and MPAs have staked important spatial claims with regard to the Dutch North Sea – to the potential detriment of the Netherlands' commercial fishing industry. For this reason, the North Sea Foundation called in 2017 for an agreement among stakeholders that would preserve the country's North Sea ecosystem while enabling sustainable fisheries and the expansion of wind parks.

MPA News

Canada joins Global Ocean Alliance, advocating 30% ocean protection by 2030

In early July, Canada became the 22nd nation to join the Global Ocean Alliance, a group of countries in favor of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. Current MPA coverage of Canada’s waters is 13.8%. Globally, the World Database on Protected Areas calculates 7.4% of the world ocean is under some protection.

Members of the Global Ocean Alliance support setting a worldwide ‘30x30’ target next year under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Started by the UK in 2019, the alliance now includes Belgium, Belize, Cabo Verde, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nigeria, Palau, Portugal, Senegal, Seychelles, Sweden, the UK, and Vanuatu.

A recent study by over 100 economists and scientists concluded that the economic benefits of protecting 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030 would outweigh the costs by a ratio of 5-to-1. Media coverage of the study is here, here, and here.

MPA News

Last month, MPA News featured first-hand accounts from ten MPA practitioners worldwide on how the COVID-19 pandemic was already impacting their MPAs – from steep declines in tourism, to cuts in budgets and staffing, to increased poaching at some sites. The likelihood of a lasting global financial crisis, and uncertainties about the directions COVID-19 will take, threaten to prolong these and other challenges for the foreseeable future. If the MPA field does not prepare and adapt, it risks losing gains in protection that have been made to this point.

This month, we continue our coverage of the pandemic and financial crisis:

  1. Insights from Markus Knigge of Blue Action Fund on how the financial crisis could impact grants to MPAs
  2. Highlights from a June panel on MPAs and COVID-19, moderated by MPA News
  3. A list of additional resources, including guidance and grants
MPA News

Blue Action Fund supports the work of NGOs to conserve oceans and coastlines in the developing world, including via MPAs. Based in Germany, the Fund is a private foundation that receives its funding from the national governments of Germany, Sweden, and France. Its relatively unique position – with one foot in the foundation world, and one in the government world – gives it a valuable vantage point on trends in the philanthropic sector.

MPA News asked Markus Knigge, executive director of Blue Action Fund, for his views on how the coming financial crisis could impact grant funding for MPAs.

MPA News

On 2 June 2020, MPA News moderated an online panel discussion on the impacts of COVID-19 and the financial crisis on marine protection. The panel was part of a global, week-long, online conference for ocean action – the Virtual Ocean Dialogues, hosted by the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action.

The panel featured:

  • Nirmal Shah, Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, an NGO that manages the Cousin Island Special Reserve, an MPA;
  • Marina Gomei, Regional Projects Manager for WWF’s Mediterranean Marine Initiative; and
  • Susanna Fuller, Vice President (Operations and Projects) for Oceans North, an NGO that supports marine conservation in Arctic and Atlantic Canada in partnership with Indigenous and coastal communities.

MPA News has excerpted the panelists’ remarks here. Edits have been made for length and clarity.

MPA News

COVID‐19 and protected and conserved areas, PARKS, May 2020. Co-authored by 35 protected area practitioners, this essay suggests three potential scenarios for how the pandemic will impact protected areas and their role in society’s recovery:

  1. A return to normal;
  2. A global economic depression and decline in conservation; or
  3. A new and transformative relationship with nature – “the only sustainable pathway,” write the authors.

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