In 2002, the Australian state of Victoria and the American state of California approved plans for representative networks of marine protected areas in their waters. Involving long and contentious planning processes, both efforts offer lessons to practitioners and stakeholders around the world who face similar challenges in designing MPA systems.
Editor's note: The following perspective piece, authored by David Stein, addresses a challenge often encountered by MPA managers: inexact or inconsistent boundary information. Stein, a geographer for the US-based Technology, Planning and Management Corporation (TPMC), is a contractor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, site of the Training and Technical Assistance Institute for the National Marine Protected Areas Center.
In the past year, milestones were reached in two high-profile processes to create representative systems of marine protected areas. In the Australian state of Victoria and in the Channel Islands of the US state of California, government officials approved plans for networks of new MPAs, concluding lengthy and contentious planning efforts in both cases. Both processes offer lessons to practitioners and stakeholders elsewhere who face similar challenges in planning MPA networks.
More information on women and MPAs
Readers who want to learn more about the subject of women and MPAs - featured in last month's MPA News - may refer to the Women in Fisheries bulletin, published by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The November 2002 edition features several articles on women's roles in community-based management and conservation in Pacific island nations. The issue is available online at http://www.spc.int/coastfish/News/WIF/WIF11/WIF11.htm.
Knowledge of how people interact with each other and with their environment is a necessary component of effective resource policy. Policymaking, including for MPAs, appears to be most informed and innovative when it is open to the views and experience of all stakeholders. However, despite their involvement in the use of coastal and marine resources around the world, many women face barriers to participating fully in the planning and management of those resources.
Marion Howard is MPA advisor for CORALINA, a Colombian government agency that manages the natural resources and sustainable development of Colombia's San Andres Archipelago, designated by UNESCO in 2000 as the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. Howard has been overseeing a project to develop a network of marine protected areas within the biosphere reserve, which has an estimated population of more than 80,000 people. Although not a Colombian, she has lived in the San Andres Archipelago for 25 years; she is the only non-national at CORALINA.