World Commission on Protected Areas


IUCN WCPA Marine Theme - the world’s premier network of Marine Protected Area (MPA) expertise.

IUCN WCPA Thematic Vice-Chair

Dan Laffoley

Our role is to inspire, inform and enable people to protect Planet Ocean by promoting the establishment of a global, representative system of effectively managed and lasting networks of MPAs.

Our goals are to accelerate progress in achieving the global MPA agenda through tracking progress, quality assuring information, celebrating achievements, identifying priorities and spurring action

  • Encourage, develop and share solutions on MPAs through setting of data and information standards, criteria, tools, best practice guidelines, and management effectiveness
  • Increase visibility, understanding and awareness of MPAs through the application of innovative ideas, partnerships, approaches and the application of new technologies

We achieve this by:

  • Convening, coordinating and networking, in order to help governments, agencies, organisations and individuals to plan, develop and implement MPAs, MPA networks, and the global system, and integrate them with all other sea and coastal uses and maritime sectors;
  • Ensuring better application of the best science, technical and policy advice on MPAs, MPA networks, and the global system;
  • Generating, synthesising and disseminating knowledge on MPAs, often in the form of best practice advice, to a diverse range of players;
  • Developing enhanced capacity at different levels to address the variety of challenges that funding and implementing effectively managed MPAs can present; and
  • Fostering innovation to come up with exciting new solutions and ideas to tackle current and futures challenges.

As part of the World Commission on Protected Areas we work in partnership with IUCN’s Global Programme on Protected Areas and IUCN’s Global Marine programme, and have members in many of the countries of the world that border an ocean or sea.

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