Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ajaccio Ministerial meeting: WCPA Marine Vice Chair's report back statement

IMPAC 3: Ajaccio Ministerial meeting

The following five minute statement was delivered to the Ministerial meeting conference for ocean conservation  by WCPA Marine Vice Chair Dan Laffoley:

Excellences, Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

It is a pleasure and privilege to report back from IMAC 3 on Ocean Protection: MPAs delivering benefits for humans and marine life
This was debated and discussed from many angles at IMPAC

In the time available I will just draw out five points to reflect the wide spectrum of benefits and opportunities MPAs provide

A fundamental benefit is that MPAs provide a reference point against which we can understand the impacts of our activities and what wise management could and should deliver – if we need to restore, how can we do this if we don’t know what healthy marine ecosystems look like. MPAs provide that benefit.

A second benefit is in support of ecosystem services – the wealth of obvious and sometimes less obvious benefits that the ocean environment provides us all within our daily lives. The Aichi targets now reference ecosystem services – there is an urgent need to build this into our thinking and actions. We can clearly see ecosystem services are in decline. The benefit is that this will move us from talking about MPA costs, to one of talking more about MPA values. And then what flows from this are better appreciations of benefits and appropriate actions. And through this is a sounder basis to discuss issues such as equality.

A third benefit area is management for resilience. When we look at the deteriorated state of the ocean and downward trends, we need to have strategies and actions that rebuild resilience and protect it where still healthy. MPAs provide that opportunity and benefit.

Fourth is the role MPAs should play as the heart of wider sea management and planning. On land we do planning as a matter of course. When we think of the ocean we need to build in MPAs as a fundamental basis of the marine planning framework – nesting them at the core of different scales in ocean management. They then underpin all we do with the objective of ensuring ocean health is a cornerstone of moving forwards.

And finally, fifth and fundamental to all this is a clear need to accelerate building the MPA network and all its benefits. Sharing knowledge in the form of best practices across regions and at global scales, to increase capacity in our community, and to reach out to new constituencies and sectors, is fundamental to future success. Sharing together, learning together, and benefiting together.

MPAs lie at the heart of all of this and much more besides. But we need, we must, grow these benefits much more, and much quicker. After all they are the beacon of hope to ocean health and human well-being, in an increasingly challenged world.

Photo: Carl Lundin