European overseas ‘bright spots’ highlighted in Marseille

IUCN, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and RARE facilitated a 'bright spot' exchange that showcased successful island conservation and sustainable livelihoods initiatives from across the globe and in European Overseas entities during the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille.

Mr. Smith-Berkeley (BVI), Ms. Martinez (IUCN), and Mr. Jumeau (Seychelles) talk with participants during the Bright Spots workshop

The event brought together representatives of government, officials and MPA actors to focus on a selection of island MPA management bright spots – examples of success stories from different regions including the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

The workshop was organised during the third International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) and was chaired by H.E. Ronny Jumeau, Chair of the GLISPA Steering Committee and Seychelles Ambassador for Climate change and Small Island Developing State Issues.

During the week, Mr. Ronny Jumeau said: “For islands and coastal states oceans are a development issue. Protecting the environment is part of the solution. For islands, oceans are our backyards, they are our homes and we must all protect them because they provide for all of us.”

The workshop used participatory facilitation techniques to engage participants in discussion around opportunities to help scale up conservation and sustainable development initiatives in order to achieve even greater impact. The discussions demonstrated that change is possible and that bright spots can be built on to achieve the marine Aichi Biodiversity targets.

The event focused on bright spots in relation to:

· Changing behaviour of fishers for MPA compliance

· Spatial mapping & designing zoning for MPAs

· Participatory patrol, surveillance & enforcement methods for MPAs

· Monitoring for management in MPAs

· Mobilizing leadership in the Blue Economy

Pre-selected bright spots were examined during the meeting and representatives were invited to share their work, results achieved, and key elements of their success that could be replicated. Two examples of bright spots that have benefited European overseas entities included the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and the Man of War Shoal MPA in St. Maarten.

In line with this workshop, IUCN, GLISPA and RARE also organised an evening reception celebrating some of the best island initiatives and Bright Spots that are championing the marine Aichi targets of the CBD including the European BEST Initiative for Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in the EU Overseas which has been acknowledged by the CBD decision XI/15. Special guests, the Permanent Secretary of the British Virgin Islands Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley, gave a further address on the successes of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative; Mr. Ronny Jumeau gave a vibrant tribute on the critical and key role of islands for the future of our oceans; and Fotios Papoulias of the European Commission (DG ENV) presented promising BEST marine projects.

The workshop and the evening receptin have been important opportunities for highlighting the major steps taken by EU Overseas and have showcased their leadership in marine conservation and sustainable development: Sint Maarten presented their exemplary management of the marine ecosystem; Pitcairn gave an address on their project to create what could be the biggest marine reserve in the world; and New Caledonia gave insight into their management of a marine world heritage site and the regional leadership for an integrated management of the coral sea.

Sister Site agreement signed between New Caledonia and Cook islands

At the Evening event, the governments of New Caledonia and of the Cook Islands officially signed a sister-sites agreement, that will in essence mean for a coordinated effort between the two countries in terms of the sustainable management of their 2.5 million km2 of marine waters. This agreement is an encouraging development that show cases both island’s active role in strengthening regional cooperation in the Pacific and in April 2014, New-Caledonia will host an OCEANIA 21 meeting that aims to foster dialogue and experience exchanges on sustainable development in Oceania.

European Overseas critical role underlined in Ajaccio Ministerial Conference

Immediately after 5 days of debates in Marseille, Mr. Philippe Martin, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, gathered in Ajaccio 19 ministers of nations representing the world's oceans.

This Ministerial Conference, held in the presence of numerous representatives of governments, including representatives of the Government of New-Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, international institutions and NGOs, was structured around three roundtables, on the following subjects: the benefits and urgency of conserving the oceans, promoting the regional scale as the appropriate framework for effective action, and international initiatives needed to protect the high seas.

Exchanges paved the way for a common declaration, based on the outcomes delivered by experts who met in Marseille over the course five days. Its signatories reaffirmed their determination to reach the target of covering 10 percent of the oceans with marine protected areas by 2020 (Aichi 11). Today, only 3 percent are protected.The ministers also committed to leveraging the means necessary to do so.

The Government of New-Caledonia announced the creation of a marine park in the New-Caledonia EEZ as well as the organization of the above mentioned Oceania 21 meeting next April and the French Polynesia announced the creation of a large marine protected area in the Marquesas islands archipelagoes. The representative of Seychelles, Mr Ronny Jumeau, invited all the EU Overseas to join GLISPA as they constitute one of the first marine territories of the world and are thus key actors of oceans governance.

New significant French Initiatives in Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean

On October 26, the French Minister of Ecology announced several significant environmental initiatives at the Ajaccio Ministerial Conference for Ocean Conservation.

Mr. Martin provided details on the financial commitments of France to marine-conservation projects worldwide. Over the next two years, they will receive more than 20 million Euros from the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) and the French Development Agency (AFD), with the Mediterranean receiving € 3 million, West Africa € 3.7 million, the Indian Ocean € 5.5 million, the Caribbean € 1 million and the Pacific € 6.5 million.

For more news on IMPAC3 click here

For more information on the agenda of the IMPAC3 conference click here

For more information on the event please contact either Carole Martinez [email protected]  or Chris Carroll [email protected]

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