IUCN Regions and Global Marine and Polar Programme set course for cooperation on global coasts

09 March 2012 | Article

Representatives from IUCN Secretariat, Commissions, Membership and Council met in Zanzibar from March 5-9, 2012 to strengthen collaboration on coastal work and set priorities for the coming 5 years.  Participants learned that an impressive array of coastal activities are already being implemented across the globe but key areas of closer cooperation for future project development were identified.

The 5-day meeting, opened by Zanzibar’s Minister of Industries and Trade, provoked discussion on a range of coastal themes.  Synergies between regions were identified on topics dealing with ecosystem management, such as the development of nature-based solutions to climate change and food security.  Joining forces to promote sound policy and governance in favour of resource-dependent communities was recognised as another priority.

Participants agreed to put future emphasis on delivering results on the ground thereby enabling IUCN to use its local-level field experience to underscore its advocacy and influence in the policy and decision-making arena.  Key to achieving this is to build on, and further strengthen, the strong IUCN tradition of producing sound knowledge products.

A particularly strong opportunity for cross-region cooperation was that offered by projects dealing with tropical ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. Several sessions offered opportunities to discuss threats and opportunities for island conservation and for fisheries management, last but certainly not least, participants discussed IUCN’s future work on marine protected areas at different scales from the coast to the high seas.

A Global Coasts working group was created to develop a common understanding of what IUCN should aim to achieve in terms of marine and coastal issues across regions and programmes.

The last two days of the workshop were devoted to rebuilding a marine programme of activities in IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa region.  Experiences, both good and bad, were shared by regional colleagues on the challenges of project implementation, working with regional governance bodies and mobilising IUCN’s network of members, commissions and partners.

A follow up meeting for both African and global objectives has been set for the IUCN Congress in Jeju in September this year.