Worldwide, marine protected areas (MPAs) are recognized by nations as a valuable science-based resource management tool supporting ecosystem-based conservation. The Fifth World Parks Congress meeting in Durban, South Africa, called upon the international community to establish a global system of effectively managed, representative networks of marine and coastal protected areas by 2012. The Congress recommended these MPAs be extensive and include strictly protected areas that amount to at least 20 to 30 percent of each habitat.
Additionally, the U.S. Ocean Commission's report An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century (September 2004), Chapter 29: Advancing International Ocean Science and Policy recommends that "the United States should increase its efforts to enhance long-term ocean science and management capacity in other nations through grants, education and training, technical assistance, and sharing best practices, management techniques, and lessons learned" (Recommendation 29-8).
In order for MPAs to be effective in the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems and their resources, it is necessary to build support for marine protected areas through site-based planning. Many current MPA managers and policy makers have insufficient access to knowledge and information on how to effectively manage MPAs. Training MPA staff and helping them build capacity will provide the necessary mechanism to enable resource managers to directly experience and learn from one another, while setting new standards for the management of MPAs globally.
NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries, International Program Office and Coastal Services Center partnered with Conservation International, Danida, World Wildlife Fund, Seaweb, IUCN-Vietnam, and Vietnam Ministry of Fisheries to develop a South China Sea MPA Capacity Building pilot project. The training program's intended purpose is to provide a knowledge base for developing local and regional capacity and expertise in designation, implementation and management of MPAs. The program provides developing nations with the opportunity to benefit from the experiences of other developing or developed nations, who may have a longer history of MPA management, and to share experiences to promote cooperation on designation and management of a global system of MPAs.
Additional ResourcesInternational MPA training handout (pdf, 356K)