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Ocean Country Partnership Programme

Delivering technical assistance on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) overseas

The Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) is a new UK Government-led programme delivered under the Blue Planet Fund. Through this programme, JNCC, in partnership with Cefas and MMO, will provide technical assistance to support countries to establish designated, well-managed and enforced Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).


The OCPP is a new UK-led programme funded through the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund. The Blue Planet Fund is financed through the UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget and will help eligible countries reduce poverty, through supporting the sustainable management of their marine environment. The OCPP has been launched with £5.7 million of funding in 2021-22. The programme will initially partner with up to seven countries and will look to expand in future years.

The OCPP will provide demand-led technical assistance in marine science to partner countries, supporting them to overcome challenges that threaten marine environments and the livelihoods that depend on them.

The programme will work across three themes, recognising the interdependencies:

  • Marine Pollution: The OCPP will tackle marine pollution through development of science-led policy, supporting communities to be better equipped to both prevent and manage marine pollution, improving health and livelihoods.
  • Sustainable Seafood: By supporting the development of the skills and expertise needed to support adoption of a sustainable seafood practices through employment of ‘One Health’ principles, the OCPP will reduce the risks such as the spread of zoonotic diseases from unsustainable or unsafe activities, and support trade in safe seafood.
  • Marine Biodiversity: The OCPP will support countries with developing the skills and expertise needed to establish designated, well-managed and enforced Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This work will support healthy ecosystems with thriving biodiversity and fisheries that communities rely on for food and livelihoods.

Under the Marine Biodiversity theme, JNCC will lead delivery of technical assistance on MPAs to developing countries, in partnership with experts from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

For further information on the marine pollution and sustainable seafood themes see the Cefas OCPP webpage.


Marine Biodiversity Theme Ambition

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can help address the twin threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. Evidence has also shown that MPAs can effectively contribute to poverty reduction by improving capture fisheries beyond their boundaries, supporting the creation of jobs in trades such as tourism, and improving governance and stewardship of the marine environment.

Under the marine biodiversity theme, the OCPP will partner with countries who wish to develop, or further improve upon, MPAs and MPA networks, building capacity to enable sound and robust decision making on MPAs.

Our work will:

  • Increase understanding of the value of MPAs in supporting sustainable livelihoods, food security, health and well-being;
  • Increase understanding of MPA theory and practise, including evidence gathering, identification, selection, monitoring and assessment of MPAs;
  • Increase support and compliance for MPAs with stakeholders;
  • Enhance capability and drive within countries to sustainably manage, monitor and assess conservation activities in the future.



Currently the OCPP is working with the following countries:


Additional Work

India: In 2022/2023, the Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) was invited to provide advice to support the designation process for the Mugli-Apsarkonda Marine Sanctuary (also known as Karwar Marine Park or the Mugali Marine Protected Area), which will be situated in the Uttara Kannada district within the Karnataka region of the Arabian Sea. Two reports were produced as part of this process and are available on the Resource Hub


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