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International Partnership on MPAs, Biodiversity and Climate Change launched

News Item 2021

JNCC is a co-leader of a new global partnership to elevate Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a key tool in addressing the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Visit to find out more about the Partnership and watch the new video launched today.

Ahead of the UN climate change (COP 26) and biodiversity (COP 15) conferences scheduled later this year, Chile, Costa Rica, France, United Kingdom and the United States today announced a new global partnership to advance the role of MPAs as a nature-based solution in the fight against biodiversity loss and climate change.

International Environment Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith said: “This international partnership will strengthen our understanding of the important role that Marine Protected Areas can play in tackling the impacts of climate change.

“Nature-based solutions, including blue carbon habitats, already play a significant role in supporting climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation. This is why we continue to champion global efforts towards marine protection.”

The International Partnership on Marine Protected Areas, Biodiversity and Climate Change, with scientific support from representatives of the IUCN and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, will work with global leaders to ensure they have the information and tools they need to understand the contribution of MPAs, and the biodiversity they protect, as a solution in helping mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change on the global ocean.

The government agencies represented in the partnership include: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), supported by Defra, United Kingdom; Ministry of the Environment, Chile;  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, United States; Ministry of Energy and Environment (MINAE), Costa Rica; and the French Biodiversity Agency (OFB), France.

"All humanity relies on healthy marine ecosystems to support life on this planet," said Dr Gemma Harper, Chief Executive of JNCC. "Marine Protected Areas are an important nature-based solution for tackling climate change. I am proud that JNCC is playing a key role in this innovative partnership, drawing on our trusted scientific expertise in nature conservation."

As the Earth’s temperature rises, climate change and ocean acidification are severely and rapidly affecting species, ecosystems and people around the globe, jeopardizing food security, shoreline protection, individual livelihoods, and sustainable economic development.

While enhanced greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets are vital to protect the ocean and avoid further irreversible impacts, MPAs are increasingly recognized as a key tool for maintaining and restoring ecosystem resilience in a changing climate, providing positive outcomes for biodiversity. Marine Protected Areas can protect blue carbon habitats, including salt marshes, seagrasses, mangroves, and the seafloor that provide long-term storage for atmospheric carbon. They also conserve biodiversity, and provide many ocean and coastal ecosystem services including storm protection and erosion control, food production, employment opportunities, and recreation and tourism. Well-integrated MPA networks can increase species survival by allowing them to move around and escape certain pressures.

Global collaboration is key to realizing the climate benefits MPAs can provide. Members of the partnership are committed to exploring synergies, exchanging knowledge and expertise, and working together to address scientific knowledge gaps, with an initial aim of progressing the evidence by COP26 to advance the role of marine protected areas as a tool for combating climate change. The partnership has launched a website with tools and case studies about MPAs and will host webinars in each partner country on the role MPAs play in addressing climate change and conserving biodiversity.

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