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Home Events - EBCD Online Event: European marine cooperation in the Mediterranean and beyond: networks of marine protected area managers, key allies!

Online Event: European marine cooperation in the Mediterranean and beyond: networks of marine protected area managers, key allies!

Thursday 12 May 2022, 15:00 – 17:00 CEST


Co-hosted by MEP Stéphane Bijoux,

Co-Chair of the ‘Islands and Overseas Entities’ Working Group of the European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development’


and MEP Catherine Chabaud,

Co-Chair of the ‘Ocean Governance’ Working Group of the
European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development’


To provide the opportunity to discuss the EU marine ambition with the idea of a One Blue Belt boosting international cooperation between networks of MPA managers across the globe to achieve Post 2020 marine conservation targets.’

To achieve this, we are proposing a series of three events to highlight the technical and strategic role of networks of MPA managers that support MPA management effectiveness and showcase their ecological, social and economic contributions to marine biodiversity conservation challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The three events will be 90-120 minutes long and will bring together Members of the European Parliament, networks of MPA managers from across the globe and experts.

  • The 1st event, planned on the 12th of May 2022, will be mainly focused on the capacity of networks of MPA managers to support EU policies implementation, in the Mediterranean and other European Seas. This 1st event will be coordinated by MedPAN in the framework of the Interreg-Med MPA NETWORKS project and in collaboration with the EU Ocean Governance project.
  • The 2nd event, planned in Autumn 2022, will be focused on the strategic role of networks of MPA managers at European, regional and global level. This 2nd event will be coordinated in the framework of the EU Ocean Governance project with the contribution from several networks from different regional Seas (West Africa, Baltic, Western Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, etc.).
  • The 3rd event, planned early 2023, will be focused on networks and their cooperation as tools for EU foreign policy. It will be coordinated in the framework of the EU Ocean Governance project.
1st event: European marine cooperation in the Mediterranean and beyond: networks of marine protected area managers, key allies!
Thursday 12 May 2022, 15:00 – 17:00 CEST

According to the latest assessment (Protected planet 2020), the past decade has seen substantial gains in protected areas coverage. The greatest growth over the 10-year period has been in marine and coastal areas, where 68% of the protected areas is less than ten years old. Further efforts are however still needed to ensure that all areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services are conserved: 33.9% of marine Key Biodiversity Areas remains outside protected areas coverage.

Looking forward, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the EU 2030 Biodiversity strategy provide a real opportunity to ensure that future efforts take into account both the quantity and quality of protected and conserved areas in equal measure. In this regard, the networks of MPA managers are key. The best available scientific information confirms indeed that, to protect biodiversity and manage resources, well managed and representative MPA networks across seas and oceans are critical. 

MPA networks contribute unarguably to marine biodiversity conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through three main ways (WCPA/IUCN. 2007):

  • An MPA network can help to ensure marine ecosystem function by encompassing the temporal and spatial scales at which ecological systems operate. Ecosystems, habitats and species rarely correspond indeed to political or jurisdictional boundaries. They therefore require cooperative management among states, regions, nations, and jurisdictions.
  • An MPA network can support that reasonable uses can occur with minimal conflict. In addition, as social network, it provides valuable technical support in sharing tools, knowledge and offering capacity-building services, it supports collaboration and cooperation among practitioners and decision-makers.
  • An MPA network facilitates the efficient use of resources by preventing duplication of effort. It can also catalyse funding opportunities. Representative networks of MPAs also provide a cost-effective means of safeguarding large-scale processes while delivering local benefits.

This highlights and underlines the fundamental human dimension of MPAs networks. As stated by the United Nations Environment Programme already a decade ago (UNEP-WCMC/UNEP 2008), social and learning MPA networks, comprising managers and other MPA practitioners and linking different institutions, are essential catalysts and facilitators for the development of ecological networks of MPAs.

Regional MPA networks are very diverse in terms of the area covered as well as in terms of the governance models. Examples include the Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) network in the Pacific, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Management Network (WIOMPAN), the Mediterranean Protected Area Network (MedPAN), the West Africa MPA Network (RAMPAO), the North American MPA Network (NAMPAN) the Gulf of Mexico Network (Red Golfo); networks in the framework of regional seas conventions such as OSPAR, HELCOM or the Caribbean MPA Managers Network (CaMPAM); or others networks developed as working groups under larger regional structures such  as Redparques or the Patagonian Forum.

Because better ocean governance can only be achieved through consolidated international cooperation and partnerships, this event is aiming at launching a series of three meetings on MPA networks. In giving a useful overview on different MPA networks’ activities and their instrumental role for the achievements of the EU Biodiversity strategy, the EU marine cooperation and the Global Biodiversity Framework, this series will also provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the EU marine ambition with the idea of a One Blue Belt bolstering international cooperation between MPA networks across the globe. MPAs social networks facilitate the sharing of experiences, challenges and successes amongst practitioners and countries and there is a need to further enable such exchanges between regions. Networks of MPA managers, at national, sub-regional and regional levels, provide a framework for an individual MPA to coordinate with others to share experiences, tools, and methods and to enhance efforts in managing their respective MPAs. They share a common language, and encourage harmonization and coherence by offering knowledge development and capitalization tools. An MPA network approach is also needed to ensure effective MPA management, within the broader landscape and seascape, and to address common conservation challenges and objectives, for instance migratory species and climate change. Networks support effective governance of oceans as they build “MPA community” by connecting managers, management authorities, local stakeholders as well as scientists and donors towards a similar overall goal. Networks of managers also contribute to improve MPA-related policies and other sectoral policies at national and international level as they make the link between experiences on the ground (and in the sea) and decision-making processes.

The first event will showcase the role of networks to support European actions, in particular in the Mediterranean. The second event will expand the geographic scope to other MPA regional networks at the European level (HELCOM, OSPAR); across the Atlantic (RAMPAO, NAMPAN, CaMPAM, Redparques, Red Golfo, Patagonian Forum and other regions (WIOMPAN). It will also show the current cooperation of those regional networks with national ones in France, Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, USA, Colombia, Senegal and Uruguay. The third one will share the results of the European Ocean Governance project that has been building bridges across the oceans in South-East Asia and Atlantic basin and specifically supporting restoration and transboundary cooperation in SEA.

Background on the MPA NETWORKS project

Over the years, MPA practitioners have come to realize that working together would help address some of the challenges they face and MPA managers networks such as MedPAN have emerged and developed.

The Interreg-Med “MPA NETWORKS” project intends to boost this dynamic with the strengthening of MPA managers networks at all levels in the Mediterranean. The expected result is that MPAs are empowered to serve their purpose and deliver the results that will benefit nature and sustain our livelihoods.

The MPA NETWORKS project focuses on providing sustainable solutions to challenges requiring an approach that goes beyond MPA boundaries.

The project is helping to support creation and strengthening of national (in Croatia, France and Spain) and sub-regional (in the Adriatic) networks of MPA managers and cooperation between networks at Mediterranean level, including cooperation with MedPAN.

The MPA NETWORKS project officially began on 1 November 2019 and will end in June 2022.

More information available at:

Background on the EU Ocean Governance project

Ocean governance is about taking a coordinated approach to tackle major challenges that face the world’s oceans, seas and coastal areas: over-fishing, climate change, acidification, pollution, biodiversity decline and ecosystem degradation.

The European Ocean Governance project is aiming at building links between marine protected areas in the Atlantic basin and South-East Asia for the benefit of wildlife conservation and local economies. The project brings together partners from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia and will last 4 years.

The project will carry out site restoration works in South East Asia. In and between the Atlantic and South-East Asia, it will build ‘twinning partnerships’, groups of marine protected area managers and other experts coming together to work on topics of shared interest (such as whale conservation or coastal resilience) to build skills and understanding and deliver more effective management of the marine environment. One of the “twinning” is dealing with networks of MPA managers.

More information available at:


12 May 2022


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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