By Valeska Oudhof
As Mission Blue recently reported, Panama has expanded the Cordillera de Coiba marine protected area and has achieved already the 30×30 ocean protection goal, the goal which later this year is expected to be decided at the COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): to protect by 2030 nature in 30% of the global land- and marine area. The goal, which is already approved by more than 60 countries in the world, including the EU; the goal, which LT&C believes needs all support from the tourism business to be successfully implemented.
Through the decree signed on World Ocean Day by Laurentino Cortizo, the President of Panama, the country is now a true Blue Leader. This means that Panama is one of the few countries that officially protects 30% or more of its oceans.
Apart from Panama, Chile is also a Blue Leader in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The two primary goals of Blue Leaders are to call for the new global ocean protection target of 30×30 during COP15 CBD and establish a robust new UN treaty for a legal mechanism beyond national jurisdiction.
Dr Sylvia Earle, the founder of LT&C partner Mission Blue, congratulates Panama with this great initiative and hopes that it will encourage other countries in the region such as Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador to take action following Panama’s example. Creating a sufficient large global network of marine protected areas is crucial for wildlife to thrive and to reverse the current degradation of biodiversity.
Before the new decree, Cordillera de Coiba was considered a so-called ‘paper park’, which means that there was no active protection although it was formally a protected area. A reliable protection plan is needed with coordinated international effort and leadership to ensure that fish populations can recover.
Hector Guzman, Senior Staff Scientist at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and part of MigraMar, introduced by Mission Blue, uses his extensive research for developing fishing regulations and supporting management plans in Panama to ensure the conservation of transboundary migratory marine species and the entire ecosystem.