The LME:LEARN project, working together with partners, supports a series of regional networks, to improve regional governance and cooperation within respective LME regions, as well as coordination between LME, MPA, MSP and ICM projects. The networks promote integration and linkage of LME, ICM, MSP, and MPA projects (linked to their participating Governments via inter-ministerial committees), regional fisheries bodies, academic communities and the private sector, as well as appropriate linkage components to Port State Measures Agreement compliance and IMO-related Conventions.
Building such inclusive networks of stakeholders marks progress towards a fully integrated ‘ridge to reef’ ecosystem-based management of freshwater and marine transboundary water systems.
To date, GEF LME:LEARN's direct involvement has actively supported LME/ICM/MPA projects in three regional dialogue processes - in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia. Each Regional Network is chaired by an organization anchored in each region and appointed for one year, they are guided by IOC Sub-Regional Commissions (Cartagena, Bangkok, Nairobi) and coordinated by the IOC-PCU Team with the support of regional coordinators.
More specifically, Regional Networks work on the prioritization of training needs, identify and prioritize the twinning opportunities within and across regions; identify scientific research needs and support that could be pooled within or across regions; identify means for stronger involvement of science and university communities in the regional networks; and finally, they establish the “Inter-project Collaboration Opportunities” (ICO) mechanism.
Regional Network Annual Meetings are convened twice a year which are great opportunities to ensure the sustainability of LME projects beyond their implementation period, as they offer a space to discuss a number of regional LME governance issues.
By assuring a solid and engaged foundation of partners, regional networking sets the stage for the implementation of the three other LME:LEARN’s workstreams focusing on developing projects’ management capacities, managing knowledge and reaching out to new public and private partners.