Call for Action
Marine Protected Areas: This Is Our MomentViña del Mar, September 9, Chile 2017
As participants in the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4), the largest gathering of leaders of governments, local communities, businesses, and organizations that work on marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world, we recognize the responsibility we have to influence marine policy and governance.
We commend the high-level IMPAC 4 attendees and their Call for Action, but it is not enough to create MPAs. We must also develop well-designed MPAs that will provide the greatest benefit to marine ecosystems and the coastal communities that depend on them.
We further commend the high-level IMPAC4 attendees for recognizing that marine reserves are climate reserves, and echo their recommendations to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation planning into MPA strategies and policies.
It is imperative that marine protected area policy be based in science; and the science on marine protected areas is clear.
Therefore, we call on the high level authorities to:
• Recognize the motions approved by the IUCN World Parks Congress in 2014 and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016 urging world leaders to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. These goals are based on science that recommends at least 30% protection for the ocean .
• Endorse the start of formal negotiations towards a new High Seas Treaty to establish marine reserves and protect biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) following the recent strong governmental support for negotiations on a pact to begin and the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress motion.
• Prioritize highly protected MPAs for providing the greatest benefits to ocean ecosystems. Fully protected marine reserves would make coral reefs six times more resilient to bleaching and other disturbances, including those associated from global climate change . Marine reserves result in more fish, bigger fish, higher biodiversity, and higher fish biomass than other protected area types , all of which benefit coastal communities.
Dr. Sylvia A. EarleMission Blue