Toward an integrated marine protected areas policy: connecting the global to the local

Policy development related to marine protected areas (MPAs) occurs at three levels: international, national, and local. Recent developments with MPAs highlight their close links to broader national-level park and protected area policies, which in turn take their lead from initiatives and recommendations initiated, and increasingly dictated, by international organizations. Local-level inputs to MPA policies have tended to be limited to the immediate local area context despite the vital importance of community-level support and knowledge in meeting broader regional goals of marine conservation tied to networked MPAs.

In this paper, we highlight the mechanisms to facilitate cooperation and communication among international, national, and local levels of policy and practice needed to address this deficit. These include the creation of a social network of institutions that both internationalizes and localizes MPA policy development, facilitating a more meaningful engagement of local people through their legitimate participation in national and international MPA gatherings. In addition, mechanisms to formalize partnerships, feedback information, resolve conflicts, and report accountabilities are needed. The success of the latter will depend on the level of recognition and support given to community-level institutions as opposed to the suite of technical training and short-term project-based interventions that have characterized local support over recent decades.

Pajaro, M.G., Mulrennan M. & A.C.J. Vincent (2011). Towards an integrated marine protected areas policy: connecting the local to the global. Environment, Development and Sustainability 12(6):945-965.