The exchange of knowledge, skills and experience can improve management in transboundary regions through improved understanding of issues, development of partnerships, and acquisition of new skills amongst regional groups and stakeholders. A structured knowledge exchange in the form of a week-long study tour was piloted involving representatives of coastal communities from Indonesia and Timor-Leste travelling to the Northern Territory in Australia. The exchange was conducted as part of the Arafura Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Program and facilitated by two Australian organisations. The tour involved a series of activities, workshop sessions and field visits with a range of government, non-government and Indigenous (Australian) organisations to generate ideas, innovations, partnerships and shared understanding of community-based marine and coastal management and livelihoods between the three countries. The development, design, implementation and evaluation results of the study tour are evaluated. The results show that participants gained broad capacity benefits in four areas: raised awareness about different community and co-management approaches to marine conservation and management and livelihoods improvement, enhanced knowledge of tools for implementation of marine conservation and management, improved consensus and teamwork amongst participants, and increased potential for developing networks among the three countries. The results also highlight areas for potential improvement in study tour preparation, format and capacity outcomes that provide valuable lessons for others looking to embark on similar knowledge exchange activities.
Transboundary Planning and Management
Conflicts over the equitability of transboundary natural resource conservation and management schemes have created barriers to effective policy implementation and practice. In seeking to overcome these barriers in the context of progressing transboundary oceanic fisheries conservation, we explore the divide between equity as defined in principle and as applied in practice in international policy and law. Searching for cross-cutting lessons and themes, we first review multilateral environmental agreements to see how equity is commonly being defined, understood, and then applied in principle. From this analysis, we identify common elements that can facilitate the conceptual framing and application of equitable principles in practice. Framed within these elements, we then explore how applications of equitable principles have performed in two current transboundary conservation and management case studies in regional fisheries management and international climate change policy. From this analysis, we conclude with some lessons learned which show that finding solutions to equity-driven barriers to transboundary conservation, while challenging, are well within our existing capacity to develop and execute.
Earth’s oceans face a crisis that threatens to become insurmountable. Depleted fishing stocks, destruction of coastal habitats by urbanization and tourism, warming and rising seas, pollution from maritime and land-based activities, and a host of new perils such as deep sea mining and mid-ocean islands of plastic debris combine to challenge our technical abilities, institutions and willpower to deal with them.
In 2014, UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme celebrated its 40th anniversary. We are reminded of how successful these 18 regional MEAs spanning seven continents have been at bringing nations and institutions together in responsible stewardship of theirshared environment. Around the world, the Regional Seas have improved coastal zone management, reduced land-based pollution, protected priceless habitats, and perhaps most importantly demonstrated solidarity of purpose. Every one of the Regional Seas Programmes fulfills a unique role, by creating an essential link between local and global levels of action and between member countries and the international community.
We set up a model that captures the spatial dimension of international fisheries in legal (i.e., internationally accessible high seas versus state-owned exclusive economic zones) and biological (i.e., various intensities of fish migration between zones) terms. We compare the success of regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) for the first-best and two alternative management scenarios, related to restrictions regarding the scope and compatibility of measures. Whilst the performance of a given RFMO declines in the presence of these alternative management practices, participation might improve as free-riding becomes less attractive and the overall net effect may well be positive.
Transboundary conservation is a process of cooperation to achieve conservation goals across one or more international boundaries. Since 1932 when the first officially designated Transboundary Conservation Area was established by Canada and USA (Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park), there has been a rapid growth of transboundary initiatives. Today, sites such as Marittime Alps-Mercantour (Italy/France), Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Angola/Botswana/Namibia/Zambia/Zimbabwe) and Manas Tiger Conservation Landscape (Bhutan/India) form part of more than 220 transboundary conservation programmes and initiatives worldwide.
The new book, Transboundary Conservation: A systematic and integrated approach, combines the most current scientific thinking with practices from around the globe and offers new understanding of transboundary conservation principles, supported by 33 practical examples reflecting a variety of situations. It is published within a Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).
The so-called ‘blue economy’ is gaining emphasis in European policy making due to the expansion of its relevance beyond traditional economic sectors but also to new and developing ones that exhibit rapid growth. Much of the discourse has focused on the emergence and consolidation of maritime clusters. However, there has been less attention on the regional development aspect and this article provides a timely contribution to filling the gap in knowledge by presenting the findings and analysis of a survey applied to blue economy organisations in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Scotland. Specifically, issues of innovation, human capital and social capital provide the basis of inquiry around the creation and consolidation of maritime clusters. The article uses the survey data to understand the determinants of the variety of cooperation dynamics. A key finding reveals that participation in innovation activities and absorptive capacity are critical factors in increasing cooperation. From the analysis it is clear that there are significant discrepancies in participation between sectors, such as tourism where participation rates are below average. The article concludes by defining the core activities that should feature in a maritime cluster.
This Good Practice Guide is the outcome of a project co-funded by the European Commission (DG Mare) called Transboundary Planning in the European Atlantic (TPEA), which ran from December 2012 to May 2014. The aim of the project was to demonstrate approaches to transboundary maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the European Atlantic region. This is one of a series of projects exploring the opportunities and challenges of carrying out cross-border MSP in Europe’s regional seas, making connections with integrated coastal management (ICM).
TPEA focused on two pilot areas: one involving Portugal and Spain and the other Ireland and the United Kingdom. Despite distinct identities in the region relating to different traditions of planning and stages of MSP implementation, TPEA worked towards a commonly-agreed approach to transboundary MSP and developed principles of cross-border working which it is hoped will be of wider benefit. This guide presents these principles, illustrated with examples from the TPEA project.
Although TPEA ran as a stand-alone exercise, it is recognised that in a live situation transboundary MSP is an integral part of wider MSP processes, and it is expected that the project experience will benefit transboundary MSP initiatives in whatever context they may take place. This guide is intended to assist authorities with responsibility for MSP, agencies and other institutions supporting the implementation of MSP, coastal and marine stakeholders and other parties with an interest in the outcomes of MSP, and the scientific MSP community.
This project was conducted within the European Union during the preparation of EU legislation which will place a requirement on coastal Member States to conduct MSP. TPEA was not tasked with contributing specifically to this process. However, it is hoped that the project experience, and this guide in particular, will be of assistance to Member States in fulfilling their responsibilities under EU and national legislation in regard to cooperating with each other on the planning and management of adjoining waters and coastal zones. It is also intended that this guide will have wider relevance and will contribute to transboundary MSP initiatives globally. We hope that the TPEA Good Practice Guide will demonstrate the potential for cross-border MSP not just as a means of fulfilling regulatory requirements, but as a valuable contribution to MSP efforts with healthy and sustainable use of the seas and oceans in mind.
The aim of this study is to predict changes in the distribution and extent of habitat forming species defined as “Priority Marine Habitats” (PMHs) in the North-East (NE) Atlantic under future scenarios of climate-induced environmental change. A Species Distribution Modelling method was used for each PMH to map the potential distribution of “most suitable” habitat. The area and percentage cover was calculated within each country׳s Exclusive Economic Zone for the baseline (2009) and the projected (2100) years. In addition, a conservation management score was calculated based on the number of PMHs that co-occur in assessment units. Overall, this study reveals the potential for movement and/or change in the extent of some PMHs across the NE Atlantic under an increased ocean temperature scenario (4 °C) by 2100. There are regional differences in the predicted changes and some countries will experience greater/different changes than others. The movement of biodiversity hotspots (where one or more PMHs occur in the same broad area) provides both opportunities and risks for conservation management that are discussed. Co-operation between neighbouring countries and marine regions will require substantial enhancement in order to provide a robust adaptive management strategy going forward.
There are more than 3000 protected areas (PAs) situated on or near international boundaries, and amongst them there is an increasing trend towards the establishment of transboundary cooperation initiatives. Proponents of Transboundary PAs (TBPAs) highlight the potential for biodiversity protection through spatial, management and socio-economic benefits. However, there have been few formal studies that assess these benefits. It is possible that the relaxation of boundary controls to optimise transboundary connectivity may increase the risk of impacts from invasive species or illegal human incursion. We sought to investigate the validity of these proposed benefits and potential risks through a questionnaire survey of 113 PAs, of which 39 responded and met our inclusion criteria. 82% felt that transboundary cooperation has benefits for biodiversity and, across PAs, the self-reported level of transboundary communication was positively associated with some improved spatial, management and socio-economic benefits. However, 26% of PAs reported that they never communicated with their internationally adjoining protected area, indicating unrealised potential for greater gains.
Ecoregionalization of the ocean is a necessary step for spatial management of marine resources. Previous ecoregionalization efforts were based either on the distribution of species or on the distribution of physical and biogeochemical properties. These approaches ignore the dispersal of species by oceanic circulation that can connect regions and isolates others. This dispersal effect can be quantified through connectivity that is the probability, or time of transport between distinct regions. Here a new regionalization method based on a connectivity approach is described and applied to the Mediterranean Sea. This method is based on an ensemble of Lagrangian particle numerical simulations using ocean model outputs at 1/12° resolution. The domain is divided into square subregions of 50 km size. Then particle trajectories are used to quantify the oceanographic distance between each subregions, here defined as the mean connection time. Finally the oceanographic distance matrix is used as a basis for a hierarchical clustering. 22 regions are retained and discussed together with a quantification of the stability of boundaries between regions. Identified regions are generally consistent with the general circulation with boundaries located along current jets or surrounding gyres patterns. Regions are discussed in the light of existing ecoregionalizations and available knowledge on plankton distributions. This objective method complements static regionalization approaches based on the environmental niche concept and can be applied to any oceanic region at any scale.