Sue Well’s article describes how marine protected areas are now part of main stream thinking across the world. Click here to open.World Parks Congress & MPAs Sue Wells article 17.1.15

 Congress overview

 Over 6000 participants from more than 170 countries took part in the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. These gatherings, taking place every 10 years, are aimed at pulling together current thinking on all aspects of protected areas and setting out a broad vision for the next decade.  For MPAs, this WPC represented a real turning point, the result of hard work by the Marine Cross-cut Team, led by WCPA-Marine (the marine section of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas), and comprising representatives of IUCN Marine staff, NOAA (the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Parks Australia.  In addition, the IUCN’s Marine and Polar Programme led the organization of the Ocean Pavilion, supported by the French MPA Agency, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Google and other organisations.  There were some 226 ocean and ocean-related sessions and numerous other marine-focused events; numerous marine related publications, exciting technologies and new tools and approaches were launched; and, perhaps even more significantly, MPAs were addressed in all the plenaries and in the more general thematic session: MPAs are now clearly considered part of the mainstream.

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