Several regional permanent networks of MPA practitioners and partners are working to strengthen and expand MPAs: MedPAN (Mediterranean) in strong cooperation with UN Environment/MAP, CaMPAM (Wider Caribbean), RAMPAO (West Africa), NAMPAN (North America), WIOMSA (West Indian Ocean), NEAMPAN (North-East Asia), HELCOM (Baltic Sea) as well as other associated networks with projects in ecoregions such as the Mesoamerican Reef (MARFund), the Eastern Caribbean (ECMMAN), and other project-based networks in the Atlantic (Maia, EU Transatlantic MPA Network), the English Channel (PANACHE), etc.
MPA managers networks are recognised as a cornerstone of the MPA viability and longevity. Regional MPA networks:
- Build a regional MPA community by connecting marine area planners and managers, decision-makers, as well as other stakeholders such as nature tourism operators, scientists, small-scale fishermen working towards the same overall goal of healthy, sustainable oceans;
- Provide a mechanism for individual MPAs to coordinate with each other to share experiences, good practices and tools and to manage marine resources that are ecologically connected;
- Shape a common language, encourage harmonization and coherence, including the development and sharing of scientific knowledge;
- Increase the visibility of MPAs and opportunities for funding and other partnerships.
In addition, the exchange of regional MPA networks at international level can enrich the global experience of marine area management by communicating experiences and lessons learned that, although similar, have regional differences based on specific biophysical and socioeconomic contexts.
Finally, there is a great value for Regional MPA networks in exchanging with the larger ocean community.
Regional MPA networks are successful when contributing to the dissemination of knowledge and best management practices using effective communication and training tools, such as managers exchanges through visits, web based seminars, etc. Exchanges of managers (with local or national responsibilities) with similar issues but different local context generate creativity, problem solving and resource sharing.
Working toward the shared goal of effective MPAs and MPA networks, regional MPA networks also have a great potential to champion the new marine conservation challenges and for teaming up to keep the global and regional MPA agendas moving forward. At the global level, strong contributions can be made to the IMPANA initiative, the International Marine Protected Areas Network Agenda .