Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 945–965 | Cite as

Toward an integrated marine protected areas policy: connecting the global to the local

  • Marivic G. Pajaro
  • Monica E. Mulrennan
  • Amanda C. J. Vincent


Policy development related to marine protected areas (MPAs) occurs at three levels: international, national, and local. Recent developments with MPAs highlight their close links to broader national-level park and protected area policies, which in turn take their lead from initiatives and recommendations initiated, and increasingly dictated, by international organizations. Local-level inputs to MPA policies have tended to be limited to the immediate local area context despite the vital importance of community-level support and knowledge in meeting broader regional goals of marine conservation tied to networked MPAs. In this paper, we highlight the mechanisms to facilitate cooperation and communication among international, national, and local levels of policy and practice needed to address this deficit. These include the creation of a social network of institutions that both internationalizes and localizes MPA policy development, facilitating a more meaningful engagement of local people through their legitimate participation in national and international MPA gatherings. In addition, mechanisms to formalize partnerships, feedback information, resolve conflicts, and report accountabilities are needed. The success of the latter will depend on the level of recognition and support given to community-level institutions as opposed to the suite of technical training and short-term project-based interventions that have characterized local support over recent decades.


Marine protected area policy Governance 



This is a contribution from Project Seahorse. We are most grateful to Jackie Alder, Les Lavkulich, Rashid Sumaila, and Paul Watts for comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by the International Development Research Centre-Canada and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation with additional support from the Project Seahorse partnership for marine conservation with the John G. Shedd Aquarium.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marivic G. Pajaro
    • 1
  • Monica E. Mulrennan
    • 2
  • Amanda C. J. Vincent
    • 1
  1. 1.Project Seahorse, Fisheries CentreThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Planning and EnvironmentConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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