Announcing and Taking Applications for the Second Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum

In the News

For Collective Change in the Area of Coastal and Marine Conservation
Starting in June 2017
The program is managed by WWF Mediterranean and is co-funded by the MAVA Foundation, the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and the European Union.

Oceans make up nearly 70% of our world by surface area, over 95% of habitable space by volume. As of 2016, there were 14,688 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) recorded in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), covering 4.12% (14.9 million km2) of the global ocean and 10.2% of coastal and marine areas are under national jurisdiction. However, within this global network of MPAs, only a tiny fraction of those are considered effectively managed. The 2016 MedPAN and RAC/SPA assessment of MPAs and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) in the Mediterranean indicates there are 1,231 managed areas in the Mediterranean covering 176,798 km2. Mediterranean-wide, this translates to 7.14% of the surface area under legal protection using 46 different MPA and OECM designations. However, for the majority of sites, little information is known about management effectiveness in terms of biodiversity protection.

The challenges to effectively managing marine protected areas are echoed throughout the globe: lack of sustainable and consistent financing sources sufficient to support implementation of management plans; the need for integrated and complementary jurisdictional authorities both within and adjacent to MPAs; insufficient management and the lack of decision making authority directly granted to MPA managers; the resounding need for strong links within and throughout the enforcement chain; and increasing pressures on and the demand for marine space. However, in spite of all of these seemingly overwhelming external challenges, the three most common elements identified as critical to the success of MPAs are design, management and leadership. Considering the increasing level of pressure on coastal and marine resources throughout the Mediterranean from anthropogenic impacts such as global maritime traffic, tourism, overexploited fish stocks and land-based pollutants, the need for collaborative leadership across MPAs in the Mediterranean is required now more than ever.


The two-year Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum is designed to identify outstanding individuals from MPAs in the Mediterranean who have shown the promise of leadership through their actions, and have a strong personal commitment to learning and applying innovative thinking on a continuous basis to their MPA. The Forum is structured around MPA professionals and coastal and marine conservation specialists interested in identifying and building their own innate skills in:

  • leading and co-leading teams
  • facilitating stakeholder and community engagement
  • collaborating with a broad range of partners on priority initiatives
  • navigating and negotiating conflict
  • developing innovative solution-based responses to complex challenges
  • directing issue-based campaigns
  • engaging in professional mentorship and peer support programs
  • committing to a lifelong individual leadership development plan

The Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum is built on a learning model that highlights the identification and amplification of the individual resources and abilities of each of the potential leaders. This program differentiates itself from typical capacity development programs that are designed around skill and knowledge development needs used to address specific resource management issues. Capacity development programs will be an integral, yet secondary part of this program, and will be demand-driven in response to the challenges that emerge out of the Learning Forum process so that they have direct application to the conservation challenges addressed in the Learning Forum.


Leadership Forum Program Design

The formal learning component of the two-year Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum is structured around three in-person workshops from 6-9 days in duration, as well as a topical series of webinars run by a group of cohorts from the first 2015-2017 (first) Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum. The webinars provide opportunities to virtually interact with leaders in the field of marine conservation, as well as explore models of practice relevant to the priority conservation challenges addressed through the Learning Forum.

*All selected candidates will receive full funding to attend the first training workshop, while funding for workshops 2 and 3 will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Mentor and Coaching Program

Each participant in the Collaborative Leadership Learning Forum will have the opportunity to work directly with a mentor on their collaborative leadership development track, as well as a working side-by-side with a coach on their Conservation Challenge projects.


1. Application: There will be a competitive application process, with total enrollment limited to a maximum of 20 individuals. Due to the limited number of participants, acceptance to the Leadership Learning Forum is by application. In addition to the application, each participant (and their supervisor) is required to commit to the entirety of the Forum as it is structured as a progression of activities. The application form can be downloaded from here.

2. Declaration on Leadership: Each applicant will be required to draft and submit, prior to their acceptance to the Forum, a statement which addresses the following introspection on leadership:

  • Personal statement on the meaning of leadership
  • Interest in and anticipated outcome from the Leadership Learning Forum
  • Example of personal experience of leadership (role models for leadership)
  • Global example of leadership and the qualities that exemplify and define leadership (scaled-up models of leadership)
  • A case study on a collaborative leadership model that has affected change in addressing coastal or marine conservation challenges (real or idealized)

3. Institutional Affiliation: In order to be eligible for participation in the Leadership Learning Forum, each applicant will have to demonstrate they are currently employed by a relevant organization – meaning government, NGO, community-based organization or academia. The applicant must also show evidence that the institution fully supports their participation in the program, is willing to identify relevant conservation challenges to be addressed during the Forum, and shows high interest in coastal and marine innovations applied in their priority area(s) of interest and/or authority.

4. Curriculum Vitae: In order to prove the past and on-going work with marine protected areas or marine/coastal management and conservation; applicants must send their Curriculum Vitae in English (max 3 pages).

Ms. Yaprak Arda, WWF Mediterranean, email: YARDA [at]

VIa WWF Mediterranean

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