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Marine Protected Areas – securing benefits for sustainable development

Peter Jones’s research supporting UN Environment report

Marine Protected Areas – securing benefits for sustainable development

Dr Peter Jones’s research on the governance of marine protected areas (MPAs) was featured as one of six highlights in UN Environment’s Frontiers 2017 report, launched at the 3rd UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi on 5th. December.

The article argues that:

“Our oceans have been under too much stress, for too many years. Overfishing, extractive activities such as oil drilling, tourism, recreation, coastal development and pollution are damaging habitats and reducing populations of marine species at an incredible pace. We have lost half of the world’s coral reefs and are consuming nearly one-third of our commercial fish stocks at unsustainable rates. In short, we are using the ocean’s resources faster than they can naturally recover. And yet we cannot live without healthy oceans.

Marine Protected Areas offer one of the best options for maintaining or restoring the health of ocean and coastal ecosystems, particularly as part of a wider management system. The ecological, social and economic benefits from Marine Protected Areas support many of the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

While the target of protecting 10 per cent of coastal and territorial waters by 2020 has already been achieved, protecting the marine environment also requires effective management and the equitable sharing of costs and benefits.

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”.

The research upon which this article is based includes the findings of 34 case studies of MPAs in 19 different countries from around the world.



© UNEP Frontiers 2017