Evaluating official marine protected area coverage for Aichi Target 11: appraising the data and methods that define our progress

Last modified: 
December 14, 2019 - 10:27am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2014
Date published: 11/2014
Authors: Hannah Thomas, Brian Macsharry, Lance Morgan, Naomi Kingston, Russell Moffitt, Damon Stanwell-Smith, Louisa Wood
Journal title: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume: 24
Issue: S2
Pages: 8 - 23
  1. The adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, along with the 20 Aichi Targets, is a strong political endorsement for integrating biodiversity strategy across the entire United Nations system. Aichi Targets represent specific, time-bound drivers for governments to safeguard both marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
  2. For the marine environment, Aichi Target 11 represents a call to effectively conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The core indicator to measure Aichi Target 11 is the extent of protected area coverage, and therefore it is essential that MPA data used to calculate this metric are robust.
  3. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the authoritative source of data for measuring Aichi Target coverage progress. The WDPA assimilates global protected areas data as officially reported by the UN Member States themselves.
  4. Analysis of the WDPA (August 2014) calculated that MPAs now cover approximately 12,300,000 km2 or 3.41% of the world's ocean. Only 0.59% of the global ocean area (2 163 661 km2 within 1124 areas) is protected in no-take areas.
  5. Only gathering and using State-sanctioned information may affect the accuracy of the WDPA MPA data. However, it is essential to first and foremost recognize national sovereignty and the rights of the Member State data providers in order to maintain a comprehensive approach to data gathering while ensuring international support for the resulting coverage figures that are used to measure global environmental targets.
  6. Further improvements could be made to the MPA data, for example by refining current MPA attributes and working with Member States and conventions to reduce or remove point data in the system. Moreover, broadening the scope of the WDPA to allow the inclusion of clearly marked non-State-sanctioned sites would complement existing official data and facilitate dialogue between Member States and other data providers towards MPA data improvement.
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