Local and indigenous communities are intricately linked to the ocean by livelihoods, culture, and science, thus binding their governance of the marine environment with its care and conservation. As we move toward the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2012 marine target, it is timely to consider the contribution of community-based management for the protection of marine biodiversity. Though we are globally short of our marine protection targets, we have underestimated the potential of communities in governing marine managed and protected areas.
Over the last 15 years, local and indigenous management of tropical marine areas has emerged as a major trend in a number of regions around the world, especially in southeast Asia, Oceania, the western Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean. Increasingly, this approach is being recognized as a cost-effective, adaptable, resilient and more equitable alternative to nationally-driven, top-down approaches to marine conservation and fisheries management. However, many community-based coastal management efforts are being implemented in relative isolation, with little information sharing occurring. Regional networks of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) have developed in a few areas, most notably in the Pacific region, and have proven highly successful at promoting the exchange of information encouraging new LMMA development, as well as standardizing data collection and monitoring methods within the region. However, to date, few efforts at establishing cross-regional connections and information sharing have been tried.
This workshop will seek to build connections across LMMA communities and leaders around the globe by facilitate the sharing of experiences, best practices, and challenges in order to advance local marine management at the global level as an effective, resilient, and equitable management system.