The promise of Sydney: A strategy of innovative approaches and recommendations to enhance implementation of marine conservation in the next decade
The marine realm – from the shorelines to the high seas -- remains among the world's most poorly protected ecosystems. With human activities increasingly impacting our ocean, this situation must be reversed rapidly to maintain its essential functions and resources. At the VI the IUCN World Parks Congress, participants in the Marine Theme shared inspiring examples of how effectively managed marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key part of the solution and offer the promise of a better future. The overwhelming support for MPAs expressed at the Congress, as well as the innovative tools and partnerships highlighted, provide a path to fulfilling this promise. Protected areas are essential for maintaining and restoring the natural capital on which human livelihoods, coastal and island security and planetary climate stability depend. Urgent designation and effective management of MPAs are needed. These areas must reflect indigenous, local community and other stakeholder needs, aspirations and knowledge. They must be complemented by regulatory measures, partnerships, governance, capacity building and technologies to ensure sustainable use of ocean resources outside protected areas, including a new international agreement for the effective governance and management of the high seas. To achieve success we must embrace the ambitious goal of engendering a new global respect and support for the ocean, reinforced through an inclusive and participatory approach and cutting-edge technology that will provide opportunities for connecting to the wonder and vitality of the world's oceans.