MedPAN, organised in partnership with the Tunisian APAL, a regional training workshop on communication in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas. This training took place in Bizerte from 25 to 27 April 2017 at the Hotel Bizerta Resort.
About fifty participants (managers of existing MPAs, members of institutions responsible for the creation of future MPAs, environmental NGOs, etc.) from all sides of the Mediterranean participated in these two and a half days of training to exchange views on their experiences related to how best to communicate the benefits and importance of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean.
Preserving our biological capital is a life insurance for future generations.
Throughout the world, Marine Protected Areas are recognised as an effective tool to promote the conservation and the biological diversity in the oceans. In the Mediterranean as well. The recent publication “The Science of Marine Protected Areas“, Mediterranean version, provides scientific evidence that when MPAs include a no take zone and are well designed, managed and monitored, the benefits they bring for society and the environment are considerable. However, in the Mediterranean, and elsewhere, many MPAs do not have sufficient means to fulfill their objectives. Fostering the necessary change to reverse this trend is one of the roles of managers, NGOs and relevant institutions.
Communicating to convince on the importance of supporting MPAs
To inform, to share, to exchange, to convince, to rally, to federate, to mobilize… in other words to communicate. This is probably one of the most fundamental and complex aspects of an MPA manager’s mission. More than just an awareness tool, communication for a Marine Protected Area must be seen as a mechanism to catalyse change in the attitudes and behaviours of a community. It is a means for engaging in a constructive and positive dialogue with those we are trying to reach.
Building an effective communication strategy requires careful planning with clear identification of objectives and a fine analysis of the audiences with which we wish to exchange, as well as appropriate messaging and supporting tools. A well-executed communication plan can have a direct impact on how the MPA is perceived, evaluated and respected, and therefore on the success of the MPA.
Today in the Mediterranean, many existing or planned MPAs do not have sufficient resources to carry out the communication projects that are necessary for their development. These needs include the necessity to have staff that is sufficient in number but also trained in communication skills and the need for adequate financial resources to implement the required communication actions.
To help fill gaps in the region, the MedPAN network organised this training on the theme of communication for Mediterranean MPAs. It enabled participants to better understand the approach required to understand their interlocutors and to build an effective strategy to communicate and federate. Testimonials of successful experiences helped to foster the rich discussions in a friendly and constructive working environment.
This training workshop was made possible by the support of UNEP / MAP through the MedMPA network project funded by the European Union, the French Agency for Biodiversity, the City of Marseille and the General Council of Bouches du Rhône.