United Nations
Conserving productive and resilient marine ecosystems: Supporting human wellbeing from the Sea
by WWF Colombia (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
The sustainability and conservation of marine and coastal- marine resources in the Colombian Pacific are essential for the maintenance of livelihoods and local and regional economies of families and populations who base their sustenance from fishery resources & services provided by these ecosystems (especially coral reefs and mangroves).

The protected areas are constituted as conservation and sustainable use spaces (depending on the category) of these resources, procuring the protection of species and ecosystems which guarantee the livelihoods of said communities. The technical and equitable establishment of these protected areas turns into an essential tool to achieve regional sustainability in environmental, social and economic terms.

WWF supports and promotes Colombia to achieve the national goal of establishing 2.5 million hectares by new protected areas, of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The declaration and expansion of marine areas in the country will promote, not only the conservation of strategical ecosystems, but also the sustainability of these resources of which multiple Choco Biogeografico families depend on, as well as economic, environmental and social process at different scales.

The principal objective of this project is to support technical, logistical, operative and financial processes for the establishment and expansion of marine protected areas of the Colombian Pacific, promoting the conservation of key ecosystems because of their biodiversity, and guaranteeing the livelihood of local communities which depend on the resources preserved in these areas. In this sense, the expansion and management of these ecosystems will influence the protection of key ecosystems, like mangroves, and ecosystem services of provision (water, fishing, hydro biological resources) and regulation (flood control and erosion), essential for the well-being of these communities.

This way, it is intended with these processes, aside from achieving global and national conservation goals, to guarantee the availability of resources for the well-being of local communities from a sustainable use of the resources and the establishment of equitable governance and planning mechanisms between all parties.

For the strengthening of these governance mechanisms, from the beginning of these processes, we work with local communities and government entities in the identification of their relations with the territory, uses, expectations, decision making mechanisms and ancestral knowledge, to properly include all the necessary information in the planning and declaration processes of the new protected areas.

Colombia initiates a pioneer process for areas like Baudo, Cabo Manglares and Gorgona, which could lead to a governmental management accompanied by communities. This will result in a better appropriation from the people of e better conserved territory, susceptible of being used sustainably. On the other hand, processes like Malpelo will allow an exemplar management of one of the biggest and most important fisheries in the oriental tropical Pacific: tuna, aside from better connectivity between underwater cordilleras.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
  • Access to market-based instruments
  • Community empowerment for fisheries management
December 2017
At least 1.500.000 new hectares of protected areas (Strict and/or sustainable uses categories) legally recognized and included in the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP).
December 2018
Definition of governance and participation mechanisms for decision making in the new areas with community management agreements. Participatory planning process of at least 2 protected areas including local communities, authorities and research institutes. Process of sustainable use of fisheries resources & ecosystem services promoted in at least two areas established in the Colombian Pacific.
December 2019
Communication strategies for the divulgation of results, engagement of the communities and socialization of the Protected Areas benefits, articulated with other regional and national initiatives in motion.
December 2019
Analysis of the complementarity of the conservation figures in the ETPO and the contribution to the achievement of the AICHI and country goals.
Financing (in USD)
1,000,000 USD
Financing (in USD)
434,600 USD
Basic information
Time-frame: 2017 January - 2019 December
Colombian National Authority of Aquaculture and Fishing (AUNAP), Natural National Parks of Colombia (PNN); local governments of the Nario, Cauca, Choc and Valle del Cauca departments of Colombia, Marine Research National Institute (INVEMAR); Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development; Regional Environmental Management Corporations (CARs)
Ocean Basins
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Pacific region communities, local fishermen and communities who depend on coastal-marine resources; national, regional and local authorities (CAR-PNN-AUNAP-Municipalities)
Contact information
Sandra Valenzuela, Programme Director, svalenzuela@wwf.org.co,
Other SDGs
United Nations