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Marine Protected Areas Are Underfunded


According to experts, Marine Protected Areas (MPA) lacks sufficient funding poses challenges to the benefits that they can potentially provide in the long term.


GS Paper 3: Environment, Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, Environmental impact assessment

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key points
  2. What are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)?
  3. Key takeaways from the COP15 biodiversity summit
  4. About the Convention on Biological Diversity

Key points:

  • Experts from across the world gathered at the fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Canada to discuss solutions to address this funding gap.
  • This is crucial as nations agreed to protect 30 per cent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030 at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in 2022.
  • Recent Findings:
    • A well-managed and sufficiently funded MPA can restore good health to vulnerable ecosystems, according to a guide on financing mechanisms for MPAs.
    • As many as 70 per cent of MPAs are underfunded.
  • Day-to-day management of MPAs:
    • It includes active governance, surveillance and enforcement of regulations, regular scientific monitoring, environmental education, human resources and training as well as operational costs and small equipment.
    • These operations need blended finance, where funds are mobilised from public and private entities

What are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)?

  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are marine protected areas that provides protection for all or part of its natural resources.
  • It involves the protective management of natural areas according to predefined management objectives.
  • MPAs can be conserved for a number of reasons including economic resources, biodiversity conservation, and species protection.
  • They are created by delineating zones with permitted and non-permitted uses within that zone.
  • It offers nature-based solutions to support global efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation

Issues with MPAs

  • Most existing MPAs do not have enough human and financial resources to properly implement conservation and management measures.
  • Lack of strictly and permanently protected MPAs limits our ability to support climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Significance of declaring MPAs

  • Strictly protected MPA networks in coastal carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes) can ensure that no new emissions arise from the loss and degradation of these areas. At the same time, they stimulate new carbon sequestration through the restoration of degraded coastal habitats.
  • Well-integrated MPA networks can increase species survival by allowing them to move around and escape certain pressures.
  • In addition, MPAs where stressors are controlled can be used as sentinel (research) sites to help track the effects of climate change.

Key takeaways from the COP15 biodiversity summit

Conservation, protection and restoration

  • Delegates committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
  • Indigenous and traditional territories will also count toward this goal, as many countries and campaigners pushed for during the talks.
  • The deal also aspires to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters throughout the decade, up from an earlier aim of 20%.
  • And the world will strive to prevent destroying intact landscapes and areas with a lot of species, bringing those losses “close to zero by 2030”.

Money for nature

  • Signatories aim to ensure $200 billion per year is channelled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
  • Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion of this every year by 2025, and at least $30 billion a year by 2030.
  • This appeared to be the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main source of objection to the package.

Big companies report impacts on biodiversity

  • Companies should analyse and report how their operations affect and are affected by biodiversity issues.
  • The parties agreed to large companies and financial institutions being subject to “requirements” to make disclosures regarding their operations, supply chains and portfolios.
  • This reporting is intended to progressively promote biodiversity, reduce the risks posed to business by the natural world, and encourage sustainable production.

Harmful subsidies

  • Countries committed to identify subsidies that deplete biodiversity by 2025, and then eliminate, phase out or reform them.
  • They agreed to slash those incentives by at least $500 billion a year by 2030, and increase incentives that are positive for conservation.

Pollution and pesticides

  • One of the deal’s more controversial targets sought to reduce the use of pesticides by up to two-thirds.
  • But the final language to emerge focuses on the risks associated with pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals instead, pledging to reduce those threats by “at least half”, and instead focusing on other forms of pest management.
  • Overall, the Kunming-Montreal agreement will focus on reducing the negative impacts of pollution to levels that are not considered harmful to nature, but the text provides no quantifiable target here.

Monitoring and reporting progress

  • All the agreed aims will be supported by processes to monitor progress in the future, in a bid to prevent this agreement meeting the same fate as similar targets that were agreed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, and never met.
  • National action plans will be set and reviewed, following a similar format used for greenhouse gas emissions under U.N.-led efforts to curb climate change.
  • Some observers objected to the lack of a deadline for countries to submit these plans.

About the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • Biodiversity conservation is a collective responsibility of all nations.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a step towards conserving biological diversity or biodiversity with the involvement of the entire world.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (a multilateral treaty) was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into effect in 1993.
  • The convention called upon all nations to take appropriate measures for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable utilisation of its benefits.
  • It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • The Convention is legally binding; countries that join it (‘Parties’) are obliged to implement its provisions.
  • 195 UN states and the European Union are parties to the convention.
  • All UN member states, with the exception of the United States, have ratified the treaty.

Three main goals:

  • conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
  • sustainable use of its components; and
  • fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

-Source: Down to earth

February 2024