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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2019  /  April 2019  /  UN Environment’s new guidance on governance of Marine Protected Areas

UN Environment’s new guidance on governance of Marine Protected Areas

Research led by Peter Jones

UN Environment’s new guidance on governance of Marine Protected Areas

Enabling Effective and Equitable Marine Protected Areas: guidance on combining governance approaches has been launched by UN Environment, based on the MPA Governance Project led by Dr Peter Jones.

Recognising that there is no 'one size fits all' approach to the governance of MPAs, the book provides a flexible approach to their analysis and capacity-building, drawing on 34 case studies in 19 countries.

How can top-down, bottom-up, and market-based approaches be combined to influence human behaviour, reducing use impacts on marine environments, mitigating conflicts, and increasing conservation effectiveness in ways that fairly share costs and benefits?

From a social-ecological systems perspective, a diversity of incentives promotes resilience in governance and related social systems in ways similar to how diversity of species promotes resilience of ecosystems. Participative approaches that respect local traditions & cultures also promote effectiveness in achieving conservation objectives and equity in sharing the costs and benefits.

The guidance recognises that MPAs should be seen as vehicles for promoting integrated and sustainable marine use and achieving a diversity of Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG14 (Life Below Water, related to Aichi biodiversity targets), as well as others, including SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG13 (Climate Action) and SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

The UN Environment guide thus provides practical and accessible advice to MPA managers, related policy-makers and other interest groups on how to build conservation capacity and support integrated and equitable development, as well as providing a novel perspective on theories of natural resource governance.

As UN Environment concluded in their Frontiers 2017 report, which included an article highlighting MPA governance challenges and new approaches (pp.35-46),

“Ultimately, governing the oceans in a sustainable way could see Marine Protected Areas as a driver – not a limit – for the vital economic and social benefits that we derive from the global ocean”.

See:


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Enabling Effective and Equitable Marine Protected Areas


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Peter Jones