Friday, 30 October 2009

WCPA - Marine achievements one year on from the World Conservation Congress

It is one year since we held the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. The purpose of this posting is to show the progress WCPA – Marine has made with partners in the last 12 months (October 2008 – October 2009). Major achievments include:

· Launch of the global Plan of Action for MPAs, in three languages, setting out the strategic agenda for WCPA – Marine and MPAs worldwide. This was developed last year through a $100k grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Plan of Action supported by a Business Plan and development of promotional leaflet currently underway (available April 2010).

· Development by IUCN Member organisations and agreement to a new IUCN resolution (4.045) on ‘Accelerating progress to establish marine protected areas and creating marine protected area networks’. This recognises the need for better reporting and accurate tracking of progress and better mapping of MPA achievements, as well as a scaling-up of efforts towards achieving the global MPA targets. It also requests the IUCN Director General to increase efforts and financial support for WCPA activities in this area through the IUCN Programme 2009 – 2012.

· Completion of a comprehensive network of WCPA – Marine Regional Coordinators covering all oceans of the world, and now including a more detailed subdivision for some ocean areas by language or culture, and also including the appointment of country coordinators in some regions. A significant grant application to Packard to support network development was made but unsuccessful at this time.

· Launch of the new IUCN WCPA – Marine guide ‘Building Networks of Marine Protected Areas: Making it Happen’. Consideration of new guides underway for the ‘series’ including via NOAA and others on ‘How is Your MPA Network Doing?’

· Launch of new advice on the application of the IUCN category system to the marine environment as part of IUCN’s major publication Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories.

· Scale-up of marine World Heritage now being implemented following the announcement at Barcelona as a key element of the Plan of Action. Meeting held in Middle East with UNESCO and the Bahrain Action Plan drafted, agreed and then considered by the World Heritage Committee. Work underway to publish the Bahrain plan, to produce a Thematic Review of Marine World Heritage (due spring ’10) and provide new web resources, now all through partnership working with the new UNESCO Marine World Heritage Officer. A significant grant to provide strategic support to existing marine World Heritage sites has been submitted.

· Launch of Google Earth 5.0 including 3D digital ocean and IUCN WCPA – Marine layer with interactive user engagement for c4500 individual MPAs, linked to a comprehensive new web platform for MPAs called Protect Planet Ocean constructed with leading partners in ocean conservation. Provision of significant support to other layers including the production of the fisheries layer with the University of British Columbia. Recent engagement of media partner (the Underwater Channel) to help create films of our achievements in action.

· Development of Protect Planet Ocean Reviews and the MPA Commitment tracker, and in particular creation of the Review process, the production of a draft review for the Mediterranean, preparation for reviews of the Coral Triangle and Caribbean, and supporting analysis of MPA data worldwide. Press packs and fact sheets created and disseminated with partners. A proof-of-concept grant to better represent and outreach those MPAs that are founded more through cultural means than western legislation is pending.

· Agreement on minimum data standards for MPAs with UNEP WCMC which will make ensuring all MPAs provide certain data much easier, helping generate a much more accurate picture of how we are protecting the ocean using MPAs.

· Engagement with the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas (POWPA) through presentation and attendance at the Korea meeting. At the latter Futures Meeting, held in Jeju Korea, major support for marine via 12 targeted recommendations and 93 in total with some marine/coastal component. Now going through Regional CBD meetings, SBBSTA and COP before recommendations can be amended to new POWPAPOWPA. Continued engagement of WCPA – Marine underway through representation by Regional Coordinators at the regional meetings and via WCPA – Marine being present on IUCN delegations at COP and other major events in 2010.

· Development of training events to support the MPA community in using Google Ocean and PPO in partnership with Google Earth outreach – events held for example in Manado and Washington. Training of [number] of MPA managers to upload their MPA data into the revolutionary open-source platform. Also gaining large amounts of new data via Regional Coordinators and the PPO wiki.

· Updating and uploading of new accurate data on MPAs by users and also significant in kind contributions from Regional Coordinators and others, for example through Reef Base.

· Considerable activities from Regional Coordinators including development of in-region networking, ongoing appointment of country coordinators, and convening of meetings (e.g. WCPA Marine – Australia/New Zealand Region held the second of their 'formal' WCPA-Marine meetings in Adelaide on 6 May 2009; attended by 32 members from around Australia and NZ).

· Lead advisor for IUCN’s input to the White House on the legacy from President Bush protecting significant areas in the Pacific and marine National Monuments. Provision of significant advice for new MPAs around the world including on Chagos BIOT for the UK and the Sargasso Sea with the Bermuda.

· Significant activities via the WCPA – Marine High Seas Task Force headed up by Kristina Gjerde on the roadmap towards High Seas MPAs which include:
o Provision of advice to CBD on improving the PoWPA

o A successful proposal to German government for IUCN/WCPA to faciliate global project on ecologically and biologically significant areas beyond national jurisdiction (CBD EBSA project)

o Meeting with Census of Marine Life Steering Committee to secure partnership in CBD EBSA project. Census of Marine Life, and Duke University Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, and Ocean Biogeographic Information System become primary partners in project.

o Meeting with Census of Marine Life Synthesis Group to organize and plan for project partnership activities. Project timeline and action points identified, partnership expanded to include UNEP-WCMC and MCBI.

o Special session at ICES meeting on Deep Sea Science, Governance and Conservation.

o Workshop and special WCPA Marine lunch at International Marine Conservation Congress.

o Duke University workshop June resulting in advice to CBD on identifying ecologically and biologically significant areas beyond national jurisdiction.

o Background report for CBD workshop on identifying EBSAs in ABNJ. CBD expert workshop on EBSAs then adopted key elements of background report on identifying EBSAs in ABNJ.

o Workshop development underway lead by MCBI on monitoring and enforcement of remote marine areas.

· Significant support to partners, such as WWF in development of the Coral Triangle Initiative, including training workshops, development of a portal, and a possible Google Earth virtual tour of the region. Support and advice to Census of Marine Life via presence on the Governing Board of OBIS.

· Development and implementation of IMPAC 2. This was through support to a substantial process led by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the MPA centre in the USA. Report produced. Decision taken to award IMPAC III to France in 2013. Key recommendations from special observers at IMPAC 2 include:

o Countries and their partners need to signifi­cantly and rapidly increase the rate of establish­ing and effectively managing MPA networks and progressing toward the 2012 global goal;

o Major MPA conferences need to be used to ad­vance MPA policy goals, and need to be better choreographed;

o MPAs must be designated and managed to function within an overall framework of sustainable ocean and coastal management; and

o The MPA community needs to better integrate across sectors and disciplines, including build­ing partnerships with communities, local gov­ernments, industry, and other users of the ocean.

· Development of a ground-breaking study on coastal carbon sinks and how these should be better valued in climate discussions and ultimately better protected and managed through MPAs. Report due to be launched end Nov at the PACT2020 meeting in Spain.

· Development of a ground-breaking guide on ocean acidification to support the Copenhagen Climate meeting in December 2009. This plain-English guide for policy advisors and decision makers will be simultaneously available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Arabic, branded as EPOCA (European project on Ocean Acidification) which the Vice Chair ‘chairs’ the end-user liaison group (Reference User Group). Other language versions of the guide such as Russian are being considered.

· Innovations with Google and PPO led the way for re-expression of the WDPA into a new, interactive wiki, user-facing system for ALL protected areas in the world. Code-named “Protect Planet Earth”, the launch of the partnership product between IUCN WCPA – Marine and UNEP WCMC set for spring 2010, with revision and update of PPO.

· Work completed with National geographic to launch the live link-up to Belize coral reef – Belize WildCam. Developed with National Geographic, the United Nations Foundations and a Belize resort. World now underway with National Geographic on the Global Action Atlas as a way to engage many more people in our work. Development of partnership working with National Geographic on their oceans campaign.

· Development and launch of Sylvia Earle’s TED award – IUCN now appointed as technical advisor to the wish. The wish directly supports the WCPA – Marine global Plan of Action for MPAs. Currently helping shape the wish, advising on TED Ocean (live-broadcast expedition to the Galapagos involving 100 leaders, Hollywood stars, experts), and launching the scale-up towards 2012 including letters from Vice Chair and Sylvia Earle to 106 world leaders encouraging them to put forward new ‘hope spots’ that we can celebrate with them as part of TED Ocean. Global marketing campaign also under preparation supported by some/all of the +350 offers of support we have from corporations through to inspired individuals.

We have undertaken many other activities during the year, provision of advice and attendance at conference and meetings, input of WCPA marine members into MPA News and MEAM, but the above list should give a good idea of why WCPA – Marine is seen as a world leader in MPA work. We are home to some of the most creative and innovative approaches and support many other projects and processes, which may themselves not be WCPA-Marine tasks, but for which WCPA-Marine (and espec ProtectPlanetOcean) facilitates a useful exchange of info/ideas across the globe (eg. like the GBR Outlook Report). We hope that all this will lead to a much better protection of the ocean throughout the world.