Marine ecosystems

In partnership with the Marine team of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), IUCN's role is to inspire, inform and enable people to protect Planet Ocean by promoting the establishment of a global, representative system of effectively managed Marine Protected Areas whilst also promoting Other Effective Conservation Measures.

About marine ecosystems

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 the 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 practitioners;
  • 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.

An online system enables you to connect to the task forces, working groups and regional structures of WCPA – Marine: Visit Click to Connect



Marine protected area coverage as a percentage of the global ocean



of the high seas are managed within marine protected areas

Marine Protected Area Agency Partnership

IUCN is an historical partner of the MPAAP and contributes to build this network of Agencies in charge of MPA management, sharing best practices and lessons learnt. IUCN is providing this web space to host the MPAAP official webpages and serve as a reference point for external audiences as well as to facilitate exchanges between members.

Policy positions

IUCN Resolution 050

WCC-2016 Resolution 050 called for Increasing marine protected area coverage for effective marine biodiversity conservation.  The network of ecologically representative and well-connected systems of MPAs should target protection of both biodiversity and ecosystem services and should include at least 30% of each marine habitat.

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Area-Based Management Tools in the high seas

Time to be bold, visionary and pragmatic for the benefit of humankind and the ocean - IUCN workshop on “Area Based Management Tools in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction”

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More on policy and standards