Economic Tools for Marine Protected Areas

From 26-30 May 2008, the IUCN Regional Office for Oceania, Coral Reef Initiatives for the South Pacific (CRISP) and the Secretariat of the Pacfic Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) hosted a regional workshop on the use of economic tools for supporting the design and management of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The aim of the workshop was to share information and discuss how economic tools could be incorporated into the various stages of Pacific MPA design and management.

Presentations were given on a range of topics including the use of contingent valuation techniques to assess the non-use value of marine resources in Fiji, the use of input-output analysis to assess the local economic impact of the creation of protected areas in New South Wales, the design of a payment system for ecosystem services for MPAs in Vietnam, the cost of Pacific locally managed marine areas (LMMAs), the use of cost-benefit analysis for natural resource management decision-making and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati) endowment financing scheme.

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to identifying around a dozen case studies in Pacific island countries, where economic tools can be applied and tested for informing marine managed area design and management. Funding from CRISP, IUCN and SPREP will be used to develop partnerships for carrying out the proposed case studies which will include a cost-benefit analysis of destructive fishing practices in Kiribati, a cost effectiveness analysis of several management schemes for the LMMA network in the region and a cost-benefit analysis of alternative MMA management models in Vanuatu.

During the workshop, the lack of trained resource economists in the region was identified as one constraint to carrying out economic analysis to support the design and management of MMAs in the Pacific on a wider scale. As a result most economics work in this area to date has relied on outside expertise. Participants identified a number channels for addressing this issue including: direct capacity building exercises, promoting partnerships between outside and local experts in carrying out the proposed case studies, and providing incentives to regional economists to apply their skills to MMA issues.

The workshop was attended by key stakeholders involved in economics and marine conservation in the Pacific from organizations including Conservation International, Foundation for Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI), Institut de recherche pour le developpement (IRD), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Secretariat of the Pacific Commmunity (SPC), University of the South Pacific (USP), the World Fish Centre and the World Bank, as well as government officials from Australia and New Caledonia.

Work area: 
Protected Areas
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
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