World Commission on Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas: global standards for success

IUCN recently compiled these standards for success for MPAs and has consulted on the content.

The standards to MPAs are a synthesis of the existing IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Standard, together with current relevant policies and positions taken from approved IUCN Resolutions, Recommendations and Guidance documents.

This synthesis will aid those governments, agencies, community-based organisations, donors, and MPA managers considering establishing new MPAs, as well as those with already designated MPAs, to easily consider all the various quantitative and qualitative elements that are needed to achieve success.

"The document is not renegotiating any standards or rewording resolutions. All we are doing is linking existing IUCN global conservation standards that have relevance to MPAs,” say Dan Laffoley, IUCN WCPA Marine Biome Vice Chair.

For all MPAs they should check whether they meet the protected area definition and act if there is any short-fall. For existing MPAs the standards will help governments, agencies, NGOs and others determine where improvements are necessary in application and management. For new MPAs being thought about the standards should be used to ensure they are consistent as possible with the guidance and meet the definition, do not have industrial scale environmentally damaging activities, and to have the perquisites such as objectives, management plan etc. The standards are all about making clearer what the journey of improvement is for existing MPAs and what is now expected from new ones.

Alongside this work the IUCN WCPA will also be updating their guidance on the IUCN management categories to ensure it is consistent with recent resolutions highlighted in the conservation standards document.

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