IMPAC 3 Congress

IMPAC3 Congress

Date 21 – 27 October 2013
Location Marseille, France

The 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) aimed to deliver a new vision and new tools to achieve the goal of protecting 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020,  a goal set by the Conference on Biological Diversity (addressed by Aichi Target 11).

The congress recognised the crucial role of the world’s oceans because:

  • they cover over 70% of the earth’s surface and have a decisive influence on climate
  • over half the world’s population lives within 60km of the shoreline
  • more than 3.5 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood
  • they are part of our collective cultural, social and spiritual heritage

The congress also recognised that the world’s oceans are under dire threat from

  • overfishing
  • pollution
  • habitat destruction
  • acidification


First and foremost the congress recognised that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are part of the solution. They strive to protect ecosystems, habitats and species, often allowing human activities and seeking to balance economic and biological imperatives.

The congress tried to assess where we stand on the Aichi Target 11 and what must be done to reach this target (moving from words to action !) and was comprised of plenary sessions followed by parallel pavilion presentations, workshops and knowledge cafes. The congress looked something like this:

Day Topic Steams
Tuesday Science and knowledge in the service of management
Science in support of MPAs
Ocean scale MPAs
Tools and approaches
Socio economics
Wednesday Tools for MPA management and enforcement
Managing MPAs
Increasing effectiveness
From MPAs to networks
Thursday Governance, partnerships and industry involvement
Governing and financing MPAs
MPAs in wider society
Stakeholder and community involvement
Friday Regional approaches
Crossing boundaries
Advancing regional networks

There were a number of overarching themes woven throughout the congress including:

  • Management efficiency: do we have the right tools and capacity to manage MPAs
  • Financing: how should MPAs be funded
  • Ecological representativeness: including all ecosystems and high priority areas
  • Integration: how to involve local stakeholders and industries
  • High seas: how to protect the seas beyond national jurisdiction

Familiar sponsors: amongst others, the congress was sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Global Environment Fund