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The MPA Action Group is coalition made up of international NGOs and Foundations to strengthen civil society’s push for MPA implementation and facilitates collaborative approaches in global ocean advocacy.


Achievements and Highlights



In the second half of 2016, the coordination of the MPA action group was shared with Rare, especially in preparation for the CBD COP. Prior to the CBD COP 13, the Rare team led the policy brief development which was funded by the MPA Action Agenda. This was a critically important exercise as this then led to a joint priority, and the basis for our collaboration and intelligence sharing. The Joint Policy Brief developed for the CBD COP 13 was also used as the basis for the our Joint Policy Brief for the SDG 14 Preparatory Committee meeting in New York in February 2017.



Prep Com
Three interventions were made during the discussions on the Partnership Dialogues and Call to Action, emphasizing the need the benefits of MPAs and the need to address the low number Tier 1 indicators for SDG14. A copy of the statements have now been included in the official proceedings of the Prep Com and can be found here:

  1. Statement from the MPA Action Group
  2. A joint statement from WWF, the Pacific Island Association of NGOs and other Partner CSOs from Oceania, CI, TNC, Rare, Waitt Foundation, and the MPA Action Group
  3. Statement on behalf of CI, the Waitt Foundation, TNC, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF


Ocean Conference - Side Event & MPA Action Group Meet up

On the first day of the Ocean Conference, the MPA Action Agenda Group and partners organised a side event highlighting the great work of community women leaders from our field programmes. Rindah Melsen (from Solomon Islands) and Tarusila Veibi (Fijian LMMA network) gave amazing presentations to a full room of over 150 people. Many who attended thanked WWF & organisers for creating a space to highlight the great work of indigenous women and how essential they are to ocean conservation. WWF also premiered the trailer to, a new initiative to share first-hand accounts from those who depend on the oceans, to link the policy makers to ocean reality. The Ocean Witness platform aims to elevate and amplify the voices of Ocean Witnesses from around the world and is a joint initiative of CI, Rare and Blue Ventures. Swedish and Dutch government representatives were present and committed to more resources towards supporting gender equality in implementing SDG14.

At the Ocean Conference, the MPA Action Group hosted also a meeting for member and speakers of side events on eve of the Ocean Conference. Attended by community representatives, field colleagues and policy leads, the event was a great opportunity for MPA colleagues to meet and share priorities. The meeting was followed by another event to discuss the group’s advocacy plan for the coming year (IMPAC4, Climate COP and the road to CBD COP in Egypt). For more information please contact Stephanie Verbeek (


A formalized Voluntary Commitment for SDG14 MPA Action Group

The MPA Action Agenda successfully coordinated a Voluntary Commitment for SDG14. 17 organizations have agreed  to as the MPA Action Group:

MPA Action Group are well positioned and ready to collectively assist countries in achieving their global and national commitments to create MPAs. With the robust expertise on coastal and marine protected areas, including through participatory approaches, that this group holds, its partners will work in at least 50 MPAs and LMMAs over the next 12 years (by 2030) to measurably enhance management capacity, effectiveness and sustainability. We are also working to support the establishment of MPAs in areas beyond national jurisdictions the including through supporting the development of a strong legally-binding marine biodiversity treaty under the UNCLOS.

Where individual partners of the MPA Action Group are making their own programmatic and funding commitments in support of identification of important areas for protection, such as, for example, Key Biodiversity Areas, establishment, and management of MPAs, the members commit to communicating and to the extent possible, coordinate on such commitments to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness, and to strive for greatest positive impact.

We will assist countries in delivering SDG14 related targets by:

  • Supporting creation of new MPAs and improving the effectiveness of existing MPAs;
  • Providing technical capacity to accelerate effective maintenance of MPAs and LMMAs;
  • Documenting and communicating the contribution of these MPAs and LMMAs toward the achievement of sustainable development;
  • Building management capacity of local communities and identify resource opportunities to support this;
  • Fostering shared learning between MPA and LMMA managers through exchanges;
  • Producing online training modules for MPA Management based on best practices;
  • Communicating to the wider global community on the importance of all MPAs/LMMAs to coastal communities through an online platform Ocean Witness.


List of organizations:

  1. Birdlife International (NGO)
  2. Blue Marine Foundation (NGO)
  3. Conservation International (NGO)
  4. CORDIO East Africa (NGO)
  5. Global Ocean Trust (NGO)
  6. International Union for Conservation of Nature: IUCN (IGO)
  7. Marine Conservation Institute (NGO)
  8. Marine Affairs Research and Education: MARE (NGO)
  9. Oceana (NGO)
  10. Ocean Unite (NGO)
  11. Oceano Azul Foundation
  12. Rare (NGO)
  13.  The High Seas Alliance (NGO)
  14. The Nature Conservancy: TNC (NGO)
  15. Waitt Foundation (Foundation/NGO) & Waitt Institute (NGO)
  16. Wildlife Conservation Society: WCS(NGO)
  17. World Wide Fund for Nature: WWF (NGO).


Voluntary Commitment