WWF Commentary: MPAs important for livelihoods and food security
In October 2013 we have assisted to the Ministerial Conference on Ocean Conservation, in Ajaccio, Corsica. Following on from the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) that took place last week in Marseille, France, this high-level summit brought governments, donor institutions and civil society around the many different facets of marine protected areas.
WWF was at the table to reemphasize the important role of marine protected areas for people, their food security, employment and livelihoods.
IMPAC3 engaged 1,500 participants from 87 nations, with a broad range of expertise including marine protected areas managers, scientists, policy-makers and representatives of local communities.
Over 40 WWF experts participated in the congress, presenting on a wide range of topics including establishment of marine protected areas, best management practices, identification of the benefits, fisheries, private sector engagement, sustainable financing and regional approaches.
I was extremely pleased to see the constructive role WWF was able to play in making this congress rich and worthwhile for participants. Of course we also took the opportunity to learn from others, especially our partners with whom we work closely in many places around the world.
It was an important outcome to see a clear endorsement of the role well-designed and managed networks of marine protected areas must play if we are to turn around the decline in the world’s oceans with greater urgency and at scale. Marine protected areas not only restore but also sustain local economies through providing fish, food, income, jobs in the longer term.
Both at the Congress itself and the High Level Summit there was substantial interest and support for development and implementation of regional and sub-regional initiatives. WWF used the opportunity to profile our work in the Mediterranean Sea and the Northern Mozambique Channel, as well as other priority places such as the Coral Triangle and South America. These places are critical for the livelihoods of millions of people and are under increasing threats and pressure.
Strengthened collaboration of all actors is needed to ensure biodiversity protection and development objectives are integrated.
Regarding the high seas, WWF and experts called for member states of the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to strongly support efforts to implement an agreement for the protection of biodiversity on the high seas as a matter of urgency.