Monaco Blue Initiative Explores Requirements and Benefits of Marine Protected Areas
Photo by: Lauren Anderson
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Participants at the tenth edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative discussed the ambition and actions needed to set the scene for the post-2020 period when the current target to conserve at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas is to be achieved, the importance of ecological and social networks for ensuring the effectiveness of MPAs, and the links between MPAs and the economy of the ocean.

Links with ongoing negotiations on the protection of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction were highlighted, as were links to the 2019 meeting of the G7, the 2020 meeting of the World Conservation Congress, CBD COP 15, and the 2020 UN Ocean Conference.

25 March 2019: Participants at the tenth edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) discussed topics related to marine protected areas (MPAs), including the ambition and actions needed to set the scene for the post-2020 period when the current target to conserve at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas is to be achieved, the importance of ecological and social networks for ensuring the effectiveness of MPAs, and the links between MPAs and the economy of the ocean.

Links with ongoing negotiations on the protection of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) were also highlighted during the meeting. In addition, participants noted that related issues would be addressed during the 2019 meeting of the G7, the 2020 meeting of the World Conservation Congress, the 15th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2020, and the 2020 UN Ocean Conference, among other key upcoming events.

The meeting convened under the presidency of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and took place from 24-25 March 2019, in Monaco. The MBI takes place annually to discuss current and future challenges of ocean management and conservation. In his opening remarks, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco stressed the role of MPAs as an effective tool against the threats facing the ocean, as well as their economic benefits.

José Apolinario, Portuguese Secretary of State for Fisheries, offered a keynote address in which he underlined his country’s efforts to lead the race on MPAs in Europe, and announced that the Second UN Ocean Conference would be held in Lisbon in June 2020.

Community-driven MPAs are the most successful because they have high levels of compliance.

Additional keynote addresses were offered by three speakers. Brune Poirson, French Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, referred to the political momentum being mobilized with the 2020 session of the CBD COP, and highlighted France’s efforts to build a strong coalition on climate, ocean and climate finance at the G7 meeting that will take place in France in August 2019. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, stressed that well-managed MPAs benefit the economy, and highlighted the work of the EU to help create MPAs in Africa and the Caribbean and train MPA managers. Chuanlin Huo, Deputy Director General of the Department of Marine Ecology and Environment, Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment, outlined China’s progress on MPAs, and stressed the importance of CBD COP 15 for building the framework for biodiversity protection beyond 2020.

During a discussion chaired by Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University, Lubchenco highlighted that a coalition of governmental and NGO partners will soon release an MPA guide that will help harmonize the language used to describe MPA stages of establishment and levels of protection to inform work on the post-2020 agenda of the CBD.

During a session chaired by Alexander Tudhope, Professor, University of Edinburgh, panelists, inter alia: highlighted that community-driven MPAs are the most successful because they have high levels of compliance; noted the opportunity presented by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to develop specific programmes on connectivity and networks, and on interactions with human activities; and stressed that actions must be based on scientific and traditional knowledge, as well as on social skills.

In a panel moderated by Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director, The Ocean Conservancy, a panelist questioned why there is a European Space Agency (ESA) but no “European Ocean Agency,” and an International Seabed Authority (ISA) but no “International Ocean Authority.” Another panelist discussed findings that highlight the importance of high levels of protection in realizing the potential of seabed habitats in terms of their ecosystem service provision.

In closing the event, François Simard, on behalf of Inger Andersen, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stressed that, if MPAs are to be effectively and equitably managed, more work needs to be done on partnerships, connectivity aspects, and integrating MPAs into the wider seascape and blue economy. Simard invited participants to attend the World Conservation Congress in Marseille in June 2020, where these topics will be discussed six months before the 2020 CBD COP. [IISD RS Coverage of the Tenth Edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative]


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