What is the CTI-CFF MPA System and how can my MPA be involved?

Question:

What is the CTI-CFF MPA System and how can my MPA be involved?

Answer:

The CTI-CFF MPA System or CTMPAS is only in its initial stages of definition and development.  The CTI Regional Plan of Action Goal #3 calls for a CT MPA System to be established and fully operational by 2020.  The first step in the process of having a CTMPAS established is to agree on a common definition of what will constitute a CTMPAS and what are the criteria for including individual MPAs and MPA networks in the “system”.  The word “system” implies a fairly flexible arrangement for inclusion in contrast to “network”, for example, which for MPAs implies ecological connectivity must be achieved before 2 or more MPAs can be considered a network.

The CT6 governments and partners, since 2009, have participated in several regional workshops to clarify the definition and establishment of the CTMPAS.  The outcomes of these workshops in brief are:

1.     While many MPAs and a few MPA networks have been established in the CT6, there are varying perspectives on what constitutes an MPA and/or network in the CT countries.  Thus a common definition as used by the IUCN-WCPA (2008) for MPA and MPA network has been endorsed by the CT6 so that a common definition exists among the countries.

2.     Objectives for the implementation of MPAs, MPA networks and a CTMPAS have equally been discussed with the conclusion and agreement that while MPAs/networks are established primarily for marine resource management and conservation with all of its implications, that certain MPAs/networks will be more or less focused on sustainable and productive fisheries, tourism development and/or marine biodiversity protection, and that none of these objectives will be fully achieved without a few basic prerequisites in place that include:

  1. Participatory planning systems employed to plan, develop and implement MPA/networks;
  2. Appropriate locations selected for MPAs/networks based on selected biophysical and socio-economic design principles;
  3. Effective governance frameworks and systems applied and refined;
  4. Monitoring and evaluation protocols in place and applied.

 

3.     Finally, as to how can your MPA be involved?  The answer will evolve over the next several years as the CT6 governments and partners refine the definition and criteria for inclusion in the CTMPAS.  But, without a doubt, the CTMPAS will be inclusive and seek those MPA/networks that meet the minimum criteria for design and effective implementation so that they can contribute in a meaningful way to the CTMPAS.  The next CTMPAS regional workshop in March 2012 will refine the criteria for inclusion (#2 above).  Thus, your efforts are best focused on trying to make your MPA/network the best designed and managed area possible so that it will contribute substantially to the CTMPAS!

Alan White
Senior Scientist
The Nature Conservancy
alan_white@tnc.org