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In 2008, FAO commissioned a set of case studies to be conducted around the world focusing on governance opportunities and constraints surrounding MPA implementation, and the ability of institutions to apply MPAs to meet both biodiversity conservation and fishery management objectives (as well as others). One important goal of these case studies, expected to be completed in 2009, is to further ground the FAO MPA Guidelines in the current practice of MPAs by drawing lessons learned from the different studies.

Seventeen case studies have been commissioned, including studies on the Mediterranean, South Africa, Namibia, Belize, Japan, Brazil, Vietnam, Palau and others.

As the project proceeds, more information will be made available here.

A number of other case study projects have been undertaken in recent years, by various organizations. While the FAO case studies are set to focus on governance issues surrounding the implementation of MPAs in a fisheries management context, other studies have focused on other aspects.

One set of studies, organised by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) examines the social dimensions of MPAs in Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Tanzania. These studies note some of the social implications of establishing MPAs and stress the need for participatory processes in establishing MPAs as well as for community involvement in the management process.

The World Bank completed a study entitled Scaling up Marine Management – the role of Marine Protected Areas which includes country case studies on MPAs in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile. This report assesses the best way of scaling up area-based interventions to achieve results at meaningful scales through replication, networking, or mainstreaming the MPA process.

A recent IUCN guide on MPA networks, Establishing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks – Making It Happen, highlights the role of MPA networks in presentations on: Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea; Palau; Cebu Island, Philippines; and California, USA.

Another report, National and Regional Networks of Marine Protected Areas: A Review of Progress, by UNEP-WCMC, focuses on the progress made to date in terms of establishing MPA networks. This report describes 30 national and 35 sub-national ecological MPA network initiatives, most of which are still under development.

Currently, the United States of America is implementing a comprehensive, science-based and effective national system of MPAs, which aims to include existing MPAs across all levels of government to protect important habitats and resources. In this process, case studies of some of the sites are posted on the country’s official MPA website.

Other studies include the EMPAFISH project (European Marine Protected Areas as tools for FISHeries management and conservation), which had the primary objective to investigate the potential of different regimes of protected areas (from ‘no take zones’ to seasonal or activity closures) as measures to protect sensitive and endangered species, habitats and ecosystems from the effects of fishing.

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