On a global level the oceans are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. They provide food security for a large part of the world population and ensure the functioning of the global ecosystem. In only one generation they have experienced the symptoms of a process of irreversible degradation.
The over-exploitation that affects the majority of fishing resources also results in the loss of biodiversity as a consequence of contamination, global climate changes or urban coastal development. For the 285 million people that live in coastal zones in Latin America, this situation translates to the erosion of environmental services and its resilience, with social, political, cultural, environmental and economic consequences incalculable in the future. In the rural zones, the same factors lead to a marginalization of artisanal fishing communities that depend directly or indirectly on coastal resources with a negative impact on their vulnerability.
The creation and effective management of Protected Marine Areas (PMA) to face coastal and ocean degradation appears to be one of the few answers that allows, at the same time, to both assure biodiversity conservation for future generations and the dignity of living conditions for local communities. However, even more so than inland areas, the specific coast-marine context implies an understanding of the complexity and inter-relations between the factors that influence the systems of governance that manage the PMA. Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA) created the Marine Governance Strategic Initiative in 2008 to work on this problem.
We seek to create the conditions for the definition and consolidation of innovative governance systems within marine and coastal areas. To empower the community and foment inter-institutional coordination; aiming to conserve and sustainably benefit from the marine-coastal resources.
How do we work?
The Initiative works with a variety of local organizations, local and central government and their agencies, alongside non-governmental organizations. Currently, the geographic area of the Initiative has been limited to the Pacific East coast of South America (Ecuador´s insular and continental coast) and Central America (Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica).
In many sites within these contries, we identified that one of the principal barriers to a sustainable management of natural resources are: the lack of undesrtanding of factors that effect governance systems and decision-making, the lack of empowerment of direct and most vulnerable users; and an unbalance of power in dialogue spaces.
Due to this, the strengthening of innovative systems of participative governance is carried out through direct technical support, advice, capacity building, transforming conflicts (collaborative negotiation and a sensitive approach to conflict) and promoting multi-sector dialogue and inter-institutional cooperation.
Finally, the Initiative looks to capitalize on the lessons learnt in Latin America to serve as a basis for replicas.
- The Initiative has facilitated processes and promoted dialogue in the Machalilla National Park, the Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve, Galapagos Marine Reserve, the mangrove concessions of the Jambeli Archipelago and the Network of Ecuador´s Protected Marine and Coastal Areas.
- Through courses and workshops in transforming socio-environmental conflicts, dialogue and governance of the management of protected areas, the Initiative has formally trained more than 600 professionals and community leaders from Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and Honduras, involved in the management of PMA.
- Through various processes of capacity building and empowerment, the Initiative has collaborated towards the functioning of four multi-sector participation platforms for the management of PMA and has contributed to the elaboration of their action plans.
- Finally, the Initiative disseminated its works through systematization documents and academic articles on their experience in governance themes in Marine and Coastal Protected Areas.
Where do we work?
Technical support: To offer information, tools and instruments to carry out transformative actions and strengthen political, technical and social capacities.