The Promise of Sydney: Innovative approaches to Marine conservation

It has become clear that the same approaches will no longer enable us to achieve our bold ambitions for protected areas.  In order to ensure a healthy future for protected areas and the millions who depend on them, we must embark on a new direction.  That means that we must change.  But we cannot simply agree that change must happen; we must find promising new ways to change the status quo and demonstrate to the world with a new range of partners and stakeholders how we can together carry out these changes

Each of the twelve Streams and Cross-cutting themes of the World Parks Congress has drafted Innovative approaches to change in consultation with numerous experts and stakeholders in preparation for the World Parks Congress.  Based on real, innovative solutions, these documents posit a set of promising fresh approaches – focused around each topic area – to the challenges facing parks, people and the planet today.  They will each be deliberated and populated during the Congress with the boldest solutions for change at scale, and, by the final days of the Congress, revised by the stream and theme leaders for stakeholder endorsement.  They will serve as a central source of information and inspiration for the Vision for the Promise of Sydney.  Our hope is that these Innovative approaches will be activated by promises, pledges, and commitments by individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations, private companies and governments.  

The Innovative approaches articulate hypothetical bold steps we can take to achieve the greatest transformations in decision-making, in practice, in policy, in capacity and in financing for protected areas.  They source the most innovative solutions within protected areas to the world’s challenges to:

  • Demonstrate the value of protected areas to humanity
  • Advance innovative approaches based on evidence from inspiring solutions
  • Significantly augment broad sectoral collaboration around protected areas
  • Transform a full range of global, regional and local policies, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, to reflect the essential contributions of protected areas  

The Innovative approaches comprise two parts:

Part 1:

  • Vision: an ambition for a promising future
  • Analysis of the current situation
  • Recommendations for the most important ten-year transformation to achieve this ambition

Part 2:

  • Targets reflecting the pathway towards this transformation
  • The stakeholders, new and existing, needed to achieve this ambition 
  • Crucial considerations


What are your innovative approaches to change?  Join the conversation!


I suggest the following inputs for the proposal text:

The current situation

These networks must be implemented within the broader sea/landscape together with strategies to avoid, mitigate, manage and improve actions that are affecting our nature on coasts and oceans to ensure our sustainable, socially and ecologically just future.

Recommendations for change

Recommendation 8: Coastal and marine protected area managers build new alliances at various scales and take legal and programmatic actions to holistically address drivers, pressures, and impacts to marine ecosystems functions and its biodiversity, including setting targets for reducing land-based pollution, overfishing, marine debris and ocean noise, and addressing cumulative effects, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.

Interim specific targets: 2016-2025

By 2017, a global program will be developed to identify, promote and support successful partnerships between governments, non-government organizations, industry, fishermen, traders, Academy, media and communities aimed at funding and realizing common goals and targets for ocean protection. These will include partnerships between terrestrial and marine managers to improve integrated management practices, such as water quality and coastal habitat protection.

By 2025, measurable declines in key threats to MPA resources will be achieved, including IUU fishing (by 70%), marine debris and anthropogenic noise.

By 2025, relevant water basin integrated management and quality targets will be in place for marine areas threatened by coastal and marine pollution, and monitoring will show a stable or positive trend

According to the Aichi Target 11, the representavity and connectivity topics should be mentioned in the Recomendation #1

There is a need to take the relationships and collaborations from World Parks Congress and give back to the planet in an energy efficient way. Let's make sure that CO2 was worth it by creating networks that report back results to a central panel that pushes forward commitments. This way in ten years, we can look back at the progress we made together and create new benchmarks. Please send your marine stories to to be posted on, a work in progress launched here.

Recognising the rapid environmental changes occurring in the Arctic and Southern Oceans and the significance of these areas to the health of the planet countries, civil society, industry and the scientific community work to expedite to establish comprehensive networks of marine protected areas and marine reserves in these regions.