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Related initiatives

This sheet describes the main international conventions or treaties relating to MPAs and conservation of marine biodiversity in the WIO, as well as some of the more relevant international programmes and initiatives.


Global and regional conventions and initiatives

Legally Binding Conventions

Convention on Biological Diversity and the Jakarta Mandate Lays out measures to be taken by Parties for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including the establishment of a system of protected areas, or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biodiversity. The Jakarta Mandate, an associated instrument, lays out specific requirements for marine biodiversity conservation and identifies five key areas: integrated coastal management (ICM), sustainable use of living resources, MPAs, mariculture and alien species.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands addresses conservation and wise use of wetlands and covers freshwater and marine (to 6m depth at low tide) wetlands. Allows for designation of sites of ‘international importance’ that meet criteria covering representative, rare, unique wetland types or those especially important for conserving biodiversity. Sites must be managed but may be subject to ‘wise’ use and do not require formal protected area legal status.

World Heritage Convention Provides for the protection of outstanding examples of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Parties may nominate protected areas that have outstanding values and that meet the specified criteria as World Heritage Sites.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Gives coastal states jurisdiction over their inland waters, territorial seas (out to 12 nm from the coast) and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (200 nm or 370 km from the coast) provided they do not infringe the right of innocent passage by foreign ships.

International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) - Covers pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes (e.g. oil spills, ballast water discharge, sewage, solid waste). Allows for the establishment of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) in which shipping is regulated.

Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region (Nairobi Convention) - One of the UNEP Regional Seas conventions, covering protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Eastern Africa Region. The Protocol on Protected Areas and Wild Fauna and Flora requires the establishment of a regional programme for the creation of a network of MPAs.

African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources - Covers conservation and sustainable management of land, soil, water, and biodiversity. Requires parties to promote the establishment of community-based protected areas.


Non-binding programmes and initiatives

World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation - The Plan promotes sustainable development in relation to conservation and the environment, and sets several targets including the establishment of representative networks of MPAs worldwide by 2012.

UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) - Promotes sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity by improving the relationship between people and their environment. Central to the programme is an initiative to develop a global network of ‘biosphere reserves’.

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries - Provides guidance on sustainable fisheries management, and recommends that all critical fisheries habitats be protected.

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) - A partnership of nations and organisations aimed at stopping the global degradation of coral reefs and related ecosystems. The Call for Action and the Indian Ocean Regional Strategy both specifically recommend the establishment of MPAs.

International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) - A global partnership of international organizations, NGOs, research and conservation organizations, that is part of ICRI and focuses on sustainable development of coral reef areas.

African Protected Areas Initiative (APAI) - A Pan-African process under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) established to provide guidance on protected areas and promote implementation of the African Convention. The environment plan for NEPAD also includes a specific section on coastal and marine issues.

WWF Eastern African Marine Ecoregion (EAME) Programme. A partnership programme addressing large-scale conservation, MPAs and sustainable use of marine resources in mainland Eastern Africa. A complementary programme - WWF Western

Indian Ocean Marine Ecoregion (WIOMER) Programme - is being established for the island states.


Conventions and programmes, not directly related to MPAs, but important for biodiveristy conservation

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS or Bonn Convention) Includes Indian Ocean marine turtle conservation agreement.

FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA) for Sharks and IPOA for Seabirds

Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA)

International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship Ballast Water and Sediments

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) - aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS).