Empowering marine protected areas with finance and partnerships
When more than 20 managers of marine protected areas from Albania, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia, Gambia, and Senegal gathered in Tunisia’s coastal city of Monastir, they worked to build on a long history of collaboration in support of sea health, local development, and human connection.
They convened for training organized by MedPAN, the network of marine protected area managers in the Mediterranean, with a session on developing and implementing fundraising strategies. This training session stood out as it welcomed participants from the West African region as well as representatives of the MedFund, the environmental trust fund dedicated to financing marine protected areas in the Mediterranean.
Building on the collaboration between the MedFund and MedPAN within the GEF project “Build back a blue and stronger Mediterranean,” the marine protected area managers worked on an integrated approach to fundraising, capacity building, governance, knowledge sharing, and monitoring and evaluation in support of the sustainability of coastal communities and the ocean.
The session aimed to identify ways to buoy day-to-day operational costs while also equipping leaders with technical skills to better run marine protected areas across the region.
This is important because by broadening their financial base, marine protected areas can strengthen their resilience. Over the course of several days, participants engaged in interactive workshops exchanged experiences and learned from experts on the practical strategies and approaches necessary to securing funds for marine protected areas.
Through discussions, presentations and case studies, the participants explored diverse funding sources and learned how to tailor their communication approaches to better attract donors. They delved into the different strategies that can be deployed to engage and negotiate with funding bodies and how to develop a fundraising proposal.
Speaking of his experience throughout the training Moez Shaiek a member of the managing team of the marine and coastal protected area of the Galite archipelago, a unique geological formation made up of six islets located in the north of Tunisia, said: “Being here in Monastir for this training is very important for us because we are working towards ensuring sustainable funding for our marine protected areas. This is crucial for us to be able to continue our work in the archipelago of Galite.”
From the Gandoule Marine Protected Area, an area that contains fourteen islands in a large network of fresh, brackish, and salt water bodies located in central western Senegal, Alioune Diallo welcomes this learning opportunity as he considers finding funding to be one of the main challenges they are facing: “For us at the level of Senegal, the state has created at least 15 marine protected areas but the problem we have is funding! So today, being invited to participate in this training is very helpful.”
MedPAN designed this training module to reach beyond fundraising strategies to highlight the importance of building solid relationships with local communities, governments, and international organizations and underscoring the value of marine protected areas and their positive impact on both the environment and the economy.
Beyond the focus on the best strategies and approaches to fundraising, the heart of this training session remained in the bond made between the participants and around their different marine protected areas. The diverse backgrounds and perspectives represented in the group allowed for rich experiences, inspiring new insights, and allowing for innovative solutions to be shared.
The presence of participants from beyond the Mediterranean created an opportunity for an outlook on the different challenges marine protected area managers are facing outside of the region. This kind of collaboration and peer learning across geographies is vital to help safeguard our precious marine heritage for generations to come.
Learn more about the training program in this video