What is a Marine Protected Area?

One of the most effective means of protecting marine and coastal biodiversity is through the establishment and effective management of marine protected areas, a protected area “is a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are now recognized as one of the most effective tools to help reduce, prevent or indeed reverse declines in marine biodiversity, habitats and fisheries productivity. MPAs can help maintain or re-establish ecological function and processes that support both economic and social uses and values. MPAs are also important for mitigating the effects of climate variability and change and can contribute towards adaptation by protecting ecosystem resilience, buffering local climate impacts, and reducing the risks and impacts of extreme events, and by protecting essential ecosystem services.

In recognition of the importance of MPAs as a means to enhance the protection of biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has set targets aimed at encouraging state parties to establish an effective global network of MPAs covering 10 % of coastal and marine ecoregions by 2020. To date the government of Sudan has demonstrated their national commitment to the CBD by gazetting two national parks , Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay-Mukkawar National Park ,that cover just under 3% of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Sudan has also already identified other potential MPAs, which would expand the protected area coverage included in the national MPA network.