National networks of MPA managers and members of the Transatlantic MPA twinning project for regional and national MPA managers networks  launched a ‘Call for Joint Action by MPA Networks’ yesterday at the IMPAC4 conference in La Serena, Chile.

The networks of MPA managers – from the CaMPAM from the Caribbean, MedPAN from the Mediterranean, RAMPAO in West Africa, NAMPAN in North America – as well as national agencies of MPAs in France and Spain, issued the joint call for action with a statement committing ‘to working together towards the common goal of building a transatlantic Marine Protected Areas network’.

Puri Canals, team leader for the Transatlantic MPA project and President of MedPAN, explained the need for the network: ‘to share knowledge and methodologies for capacity building of MPA managers, and for joint advocacy for MPA managers at an international level’.  Other Atlantic rim regional and national MPA networks, besides those who already in the twinning project – from Canada, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, RAPAC from Central Africa and the Marine and Coastal group of Red Parques from South America – recently attended a twinning project workshop in Tenerife, to join the discussion of how networks of MPA managers could work together, for example to develop messages for donors to finance better management of MPAs and capacity-building.

“The Atlantic is where we have started to practise the large networking approach, but we hope launching this call will inspire other regions to network together too,” said Canals.

“Working together is much more efficient for MPAs with limited resources like those in the Caribbean,” said Alessandra Vanzella, speaking for the network of MPA managers in the Caribbean (CaMPAM). “The example of the current hurricane [Irma, today passing through the region] is especially poignant, and underlines why it is important to move quickly, working together and learning from each other.” In the Caribbean, over 300 MPAs have been established, but only 6% meet management objectives, she added.

“We can have greater impact at international fora working together with other MPA networks,” said Marie Romani, of the Mediterranean MPA network (MedPAN). “It will also help us to fundraise at regional, national and sub-national levels.”

“We can learn from each other and we look forward to the next steps,” confirmed Phénia Marras, of the French Biodiversity Agency, a national MPA network.

“Networks can play in crucial role in increasing the capacity of MPA managers across the Atlantic,” concluded Puri Canals.

The Call, which can be viewed and signed here, was then opened for signature by the countries, managers, donors, scientists and others.

Take a look at the pictures on MedPAN Facebook page