Debriefing: Blue Solutions at IMPAC4

Debriefing: Blue Solutions at IMPAC4

Written by Marie Fischborn and Volker Koch, Blue Solutions Initiative

The Blue Solutions Initiative participated at the Fourth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) that took place under the theme Marine Protected Areas: Bringing the people and ocean together from September 4 to 8, 2017 in La Serena-Coquimbo (Chile). Over 800 attendants from conservation institutions, government agencies, academic and research institutions and civil society participated in the event and discussed many different aspects of how Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are essential tools for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

Chile’s commitments at IMPAC4

The Chilean government strengthened its commitments to marine conservation and announced several new MPAs during the conference: The Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Rahui Marine Protected Area with 740 000km2, the Marine Park Cabo de Hornos e Islas Diego Ramírez with 100 000km2, and the expansion of the Juan Fernández MPA to a total of 450 000km2. With these new declarations, Chile has made a huge step forward in marine conservation. With now over 1 000 000km2 of marine protected areas, the country is meeting the challenge of managing and governing these vast expanses of coastline and seas. In a high-level meeting led by Chile with the participation of global decision makers, Environment Ministers from various countries and IUCN and WCPA representatives on September 9th, a call to action to protect the oceans was signed.

Blue Solutions activities

Blue Solutions Initiative hosted two workshops, two knowledge cafés and four sessions in the IUCN Oceans Pavilion. The project team also hosted a Blue Solutions stand with information materials for interested attendants. All sessions relied on successful real-life examples from the PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet platform. Many thanks to all solution providers who participated and shared their inspiring work at the conference: Claire-Sophie Azam, Paula Bueno, Jon Day, Laure Katz, Natali Piccolo, Marie Romani, Patricia Ruiz, and Keobel Sakuma (Congratulations Keobel for winning the Kenton Miller Award).

Participants at the Blue Solutions events provided plenty of positive feedback and showed interest to add new solutions to the PANORAMA platform. Several opportunities were discusseed for collaboration with other institutions who focus on knowledge sharing and mutual learning. All four training courses (Blue IES, Blue CCA, Blue planning in practice, Conservation Financing upcoming) were promoted and there was plenty of interest about possibilities to provide trainings in the near future.

Our highlights

What were the most important takeaways from the Blue Solutions sessions? The daily sessions in the ocean pavilion were great to present particular topics in a short and interactive way with lots of discussion and feedback in an informal, intimate setting. The workshop on “Solutions for MPA financing – success stories and their potential for broader application was well received and almost half of the workshop duration was spent on a stimulating discussion with plenty of input from the public. Time ran out in the end with lots of important things unsaid but it is hoped that the discussion will go on among the solution providers who work on sustainable finance and the large Blue Solutions community.

The session “Large-scale MPAs – Success stories and learning for the way forward” provided an opportunity to introduce and discuss positive approaches and lessons learnt around the design, management and governance of very large sites. Number and area covered by such large MPAs has increased exponentially in recent years, and BS offered, through this workshop, a platform for reflecting on achieving conservation outcomes alongside percentage of area coverage.
In an informal, outdoor setting, BS furthermore facilitated a knowledge café on “Solutions for scaling shared and community-led MPA governance”. Participants showed great interests in the lessons learnt around building on traditional knowledge in Palau, and working closely with fishermen in designing an MPA network in Brazil. In another Knowledge Cafe, BS introduced a new guide on MPA governance, “Enabling Effective & Equitable MPAs – Guidance on combining governance approaches“, which stimulated a good discussion on the importance of political engagement at different decision levels in order to ensure effective MPAs and the importance of sharing their benefits across stakeholders.

For us it was a great opportunity to network with our Blue Solutions community and to share the great work of our solution providers. The Blue Solutions approach and the richness and diversity of specific positive examples was perceived by members of the MPA community to add value around a variety of themes.