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IMPAC 3 - Executive summary


The oceans cover 72% of the Earth’s surface, and the High seas (Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction – ABNJ) represent almost 60% of the world’s oceans and are at the heart of supporting life on Earth. Marine ecosystems provide vital services: securing food, developing economies and regulating the global climate, to name but a few. Oceans are the largest and oldest carbon sinks on Earth as 55 % of all biologically sequestered carbon is captured by marine organisms. Although more difficult to measure, other benefits; science, culture, education, recreation and well-being, are just as essential. Yet the oceans are under threat by multiple human and natural causes including overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and acidification.

We urgently need to take action to protect the oceans and raise the awareness of political leaders and other key players as well as all citizens of the importance of looking after our future -- our Oceans -- by opening up discussions and building an ocean culture.

The Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3), held in 2013, aimed to deliver a new vision and new tools for achieving the goal of protecting 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020, as defined by the signatory Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Fulfilling this commitment cannot be done without taking users’ needs and behaviours into account. Creating marine protected areas is an effective means of conserving the marine environment. Doing so takes values, determination, knowledge of marine ecosystems, and reliable conservation and restoration techniques. It’s time to build bridges between all stakeholders and not only those directly involved in marine conservation, by having a cultural approach to reach each society around the world. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are in a key position to ensure such cooperation: they form a link between land, coastline and sea, between human and biological constraints and between humans and the sea.

To achieve this goal, IMPAC3 mobilized a unique and wide range of expertise, characterized by the diversity of participants including managers, scientists, policy makers, representatives from local governments and communities, civil society, artists and representatives from the business world. The Ajaccio Ministerial Conference for Ocean Conservation concluded the congress, confirming through the Message of Ajaccio the international political commitment to make progress and showing the way with the announcement of new initiatives for ocean protection. More than 1500 persons from 87 countries participated in this important event held both in Marseille and in Corsica.

Forward, by Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN and Olivier Laroussinie, Director of the French MPA Agency

Document date : 11/2014

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