Promoting success in marine protected and conserved areas of the Western Indian Ocean

Promoting success in marine protected and conserved areas of the Western Indian Ocean

Written by Marie Fischborn, Blue Solutions Initiative

The tenth annual symposium of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in late October/early November, brought together marine researchers and practitioners from almost all the countries of that region, and beyond. Blue Solutions implementing partner IUCN conducted a full-day Special Session titled “Nature Culture Future: Blue solutions and the IUCN Green List in the WIO region to help achieve conservation results for people and nature” as part of the conference.

Participants during the Special Session on Blue Solutions and the IUCN Green List © WIOMSA

The session provided an opportunity to introduce the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, a global sustainability standard to assess performance and promote success in protected and conserved areas. The elements of the standard were each illustrated by a “blue solution” from the region, i.e. a case study of an MPA that does particularly well with regards to “sound design and planning”, “management effectiveness”, “good governance” or “conservation outcomes”. Solution providers from Madagascar, Kenya, Mozambique and the Seychelles shared their experiences.

Both the Blue Solutions approach as well as the Green List were met with great interest from the audience. A roll-out of the Green List standard in WIO countries will be explored by IUCN in collaboration with WIOMSA and other partners.

Nirmal Shah from Nature Seychelles presenting his blue solution © Marie Fischborn

Both initiatives – Blue Solutions and the Green List – are different yet complementary, in encouraging and celebrating success in conservation. The session held during the WIOMSA Symposium was the first time that “solution” case studies were deliberately used to illustrate what defines a successful protected or conserved area in the logic of the Green List standard, and what are the building blocks that have led to achieving that success.