Recently in June 2012, world leaders at the Rio + 20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro recognized the crucial role of biodiversity in ensuring sustainable development and called for greater efforts to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
In the outcome document of Rio+20, entitled “The Future We Want”, world leaders reaffirmed the importance of area-based conservation measures, including marine protected areas, as a tool for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. They noted Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, which states that by 2020, 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas – especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services – are to be conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Much of the success in this effort from a biodiversity perspective will depend on the degree to which these protected areas are situated within a broader, multi-sectoral planning context.
Area-based planning and management processes have been important environmental and resources management tools for many decades. They provide effective frameworks to consider environmental, social, cultural, institutional, and economic variables within a common bio-geographic context – bringing what are at times competing interests together to form a common management vision. Marine spatial planning represents an important step to improving collaboration amongst multiple users of the marine environment towards a shared vision and outcomes. Understanding successes and challenges in marine spatial planning and scaling up these experiences to large marine areas and trans-boundary regions are therefore essential to effective achievement of the Aichi targets on marine and coastal biodiversity.
As such, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in its tenth meeting, requested the Executive Secretary to compile and synthesize available information in collaboration with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations on their experiences and use of marine spatial planning, in particular on ecological, economic, social, cultural and other principles used to guide such planning and the use of areabased management tools. In response to this request, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility prepared this publication in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. We welcome this collaboration, and hope this publication will provide useful information to countries, organizations and many diverse users of the marine environment in finding their pathways towards our common goals of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.