South Asia MCPA Project

The South Asia region is home to a wealth of coral reefs, seagrasses and mangrove forests. Yet, natural and human pressures on the resources are high, and despite the current protection measures, degradation of these resources continues at an unprecedented rate.

South Asia MCPA Project - Phil Townsley
ICRAN, the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP), and partners, are working to implement a European Union funded project with the 5 maritime nations of South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), that contributes to a reduction in the rates of marine and coastal biodiversity loss, and protects the natural resources on which the economic and social development of future generations is based.

The project began in 2006, and work is underway in collaboration with country Governments and coastal and marine stakeholders to:

  • Improve the management and operation of 5 existing marine protected areas; developing the skills of staff and creating helpful management resources, while encouraging the sharing of best practices with other sites across the South Asia region.
  • Improve communications and data management to and from MCPA sites, and within the wider region, to promote greater understanding and awareness of ongoing regional conservation efforts – To access interesting resources, papers and tools relevant for managers and practitioners, please visit the South Asia MCPA Information Portal
  • Work alongside coastal communities to enhance their livelihoods and develop and assist them to take up more sustainable livelihood activities, moving away from reef degradation. For an update on the most recent activities undertaken by the Coral Reef Livelihoods Initiative (CORALI) please visit or view the CORALI Case Studies
  • Establish a task force to promote a regional response to environmental challenges, to improve regional cooperation and coordination of management and conservation efforts, and to assist participating countries to learn from each others experiences.

Launch of the South Asia Managers Toolkit at WCC

A regional training workshop was conducted for MCPA managers in the Maldives from 4-7th June 2008, which gathered 21 participants from 5 countries in the region. The workshop aims were two-fold: to further develop the skills of participants through interactive management training scenarios; and to provide an opportunity for the intended target audience to review the content, structure and usefulness of the South Asia MCPA Toolkit prior to its finalisation. A full report on the workshop can be downloaded here.

Structured and participatory learning sessions on project design, economic valuation of resources, design of monitoring programmes, and sustainable livelihoods were lead by international experts during the training workshop, and opportunities provided for participants to share their experiences and expertise in responding to MCPA management challenges at their specific sites. The workshop report concludes that the capabilities of the South Asia nations to respond to marine and coastal management challenges through the provision of information and critical tools in support of management, regional networking opportunities, problem solving and practical exercises was improved during the regional training programme, and can be supported by the South Asia Toolkit.

Both the South Asia Toolkit and the diverse training programme received wide praise, and recommendations were made by participants for national level training based on a similar programme. Critical feedback on the South Asia Toolkit content, layout, and user-friendliness was provided by workshop participants for the improvement of the product.

Detailed information was also provided from countries, following the workshop, to validate the MCPA tables and maps showing the location and designation of MCPA sites across the region. The project team thank all those who contributed to this collaborative effort. An expert review of the advanced draft of the product was subsequently undertaken by regional and international experts prior to the paunch at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, October 2008.

For further project information and an update on most recent activities please visit the SACEP website:

Additional Resources