Developing the official documents for institutionalization process.

The institutionalization process of the WIOMN required the registration and the strengthening of the Network. In addition, the process required the development of a number of documents such as the administration manuals and operation procedures. In doing so, WWF recruited the experts to support the WIOMN throughout the completion of the process. 

The regular communication between 

Establishing a set of race regulations that places science at the centre of racing activities

The Ocean Race Teams Sustainability Charter and Code of Conduct was co-created with the teams to express a fleet-wide commitment to sustainable operations and supporting a healthy ocean. The charter includes themes of Advocacy, Science, Learning and Operations. It seeks to get all teams, staff, and sailors to stand up for the ocean through sustainable sailing, team, and personal actions. 


On the science front, teams must pledge to agree to:


  • Supporting science-based decision making.
  • Participating in increasing knowledge and understanding of our ocean.
  • Hosting scientific equipment onboard.
  • Participating in sailor and citizen science programmes.
  • Contributing to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science in collaboration with The Ocean Race.


Including science within a charter and requiring stakeholders to undertake various science-related activities whilst competing in a sailing race embeds science, as a core value, into race practices. This is unique in the sporting world as it requires teams and athletes to take on environmental responsibilities as well as their existing sporting responsibilities.


  • Awareness of climate change and the importance, and fragility, of oceans. 
  • Desire to protect oceans and sailing’s ‘racetrack’.
  • Understanding the importance of data collection for climate and ocean science.
  • Desire to use sailing and racing beyond sporting objectives, as a platform for scientific research.

Collaboration is key, everyone needs to take part and be responsible for a better future for all. 


Engagement with the teams, partners and host cities  needs to be early on and there is a need to support them in their journey - not as an afterthought or last minute addition. There needs to be someone within each team that is dedicated to Sustainability and maintaining the Sustainability Charter within their team and department. It is important not to underestimate the amount of work needed to maintain the Sustainability Charter and our sustainability goals - assign enough resources!


In an event like The Ocean Race, there are also challenges due to unpredictable circumstances like boat repairs from dismasting or collisions which can increase the footprint and environmental impact of the team and the Race. It is important to have some extra capacity and contingencies to offset unforeseen circumstances like these. 

Marine Management

Much support was given to improve fisher capacity to manage their access to and use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). The programme recognised that the establishment of marine managed and protected areas as a method of marine management has resulted in increased reliance on Fish Aggregating Devices installed outside the marine managed and protected areas, for sustenance of the fishery sector.  Fishers within the Carriacou Fisher Folks Inc also recognised this and the need for attention to be paid to the monitoring and management of this resource.  This beckoned the implementation of FAD Data Management training for fishers of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.  The training was facilitated through the Fisheries Department of the Government of Grenada, and included information sharing on, but not limited to data on marine conservation, history of FADs in the region, the importance of data collection, legislation, its challenges, development of informal protocols and rules, identifying fish species as well as data collection methodology and post data collection analysis.  The workshop also realised the commitment of fishers to establish GrenFAD, which will take the leading role in the management of the FADs.  The fishers agreed and signed off on the soft rules for FAD Fishing, membership and FAD fees, data collection, data collection templates and protocols for data collection and management.  Actors in the fishery sector and marine management/protection were also trained in the use of underwater drones for remote sensing. The Programme provided support for construction of at least 6 FADS for the St. Marks fishers in Dominica. In the case of Saint Lucia, the provision of navigational tools to assist in accessing the FAD locations, which are often many miles offshore, and generally speaking to assist with safety at sea.

With increased application of marine management strategies, there has been increased use of FADS to supplement the loss of access to fishing grounds which have been redesignated as protected areas, managed areas or reserves.  Thus, the CATS interventions to improve capacity to manage these FADS were quite opportune in timing, and the fishers were keen on participating in the interventions related to them.  In the case of the ROV’s this improved capacity enabled the beneficiaries to be ready to improve their monitoring efficiency and quality. 

The Programme recognised the need for practical, user-guided solutions and implementations as critical elements for success and long term and far reaching benefits from the same.  With regard to the FAD management and trainings, this process was smoothly executed with fishers taking ownership of this and taking the lead to put arrangements in place to better manage their FADs.

Land Management - Good agricultural practices

The CATS Programme was based on the acknowledgement that good practices within the terrestrial zone augur well for the health of the coasts and marine spaces.  Thus, it worked with practitioners (farmers, foresters, agroprocessors) within this space by teaching and reinforcing good practices that could be incorporated within their operations.  A small group was also taught the specialised skills for mushroom cultivation as an alternative to traditional crop production.  This niche area was anticipated to increase food production diversity as it aligned with the practices of good resource management, recycling of byproducts and resilience.  For practitioners at the management level, the Programme supported the training of various persons in the practical application of Unmanned Aerial Systems for natural resource management and monitoring.  Since CATS Programme’s introduction of this, several other organisations both private and public sector have embarked on similar trainings for their officers. 

Resource management was an area of much focus by various actors within the stakeholder community.  Thus, the challenge of obtaining buy-in and interest was minimal.  Partners already had at least a basic understanding of the importance and relevance of effective resource management and the interconnection between the terrestrial and marine spaces.  Further, given there were several other actors in the technical support and grant sectors with whom it was possible to collaborate to maximise results.  Support from the ministries of agriculture in the various islands was also an enabling factor.  Their technical expertise helped facilitate the implementation of the various initiatives. The ministries were the principal source of technical support for all terrestrial interventions under the programme. With regard to the management level, the actors, particularly in the forestry sector, saw the technology as a very relevant intervention as they were keenly aware of their monitoring limitations and saw the tool as an opportunity to improve the scope and efficiency of their monitoring. 

The incorporation, within farming practice, of non-synthetic inputs for fertility and control of pests and weeds, though widely practiced many decades ago, is now alien to the majority of farmers.  Modern farmers rely on their crop for their livelihoods and have clearly expressed that they are not willing to experiment on their sale crops by incorporating improved practices.  They expressed concern about the risk of diminished crop quality, a situation which would reduce their revenue.  They were unconvinced that they would be able to sustain their livelihoods if they were to change their farming practice to be more environmentally friendly. Thus, and future iterations of projects seeking to improve farm practices would have to incorporate significant investment and focus on demonstration plot establishment, research and development and start-ups.  Despite having gone through a very rigorous process of participant selection for the mushroom cultivation training, it was recognised that the personal economic challenges and ambitions of the participants was an inhibiting factor; although all the trainees were keenly interested in pursuing the business start-up, they were challenged by the need to have secure revenue, and found it easier to continue their modus operandi prior to the training, as opposed to making the sacrifice needed to start the new businesses.  All this was despite the project incorporating in its design access to raw materials needed for production during the initial months of production.  The high-risk aversion of persons being encouraged to start up new businesses needs to be overcome by incorporating even more support mechanisms.  The Programme failed to complete the second phase of the remote sensing training, thus pilots trained and their organisations failed to attain the full support needed to confidently incorporate remote sensing in their operations.  Future such interventions should ensure completion of all necessary phases of support to ensure sustainability. 

Capacity building of the WIOMN

The project team facilitated the development of the supporting documents  required to enhance the capacity of the network and finalize the formal registration as an NGO in Zanzibar. The documents developed included the operational manual and the strategic plan. In addition, the website was developed. A consultancy was paid to aid the network to take the necessary steps needed for the registration. 

The availability of the funds, the willingness of the WIOMN, the good collaboration within the consortium, the local representation of the member of the consortium. 

Strengthing relationship with the regional key actor on mangrove conservation

Following the mapping of the key actors in the WIO region, the consortium approached (confirm with Fidy or Modesta) the WIOMN on the eventual collaboration related to mangrove conservation. The need of the registration and capacity building were identified jointly. The needed activities were budgeted in the proposal.  

The good relationships of WWF, IUCN and WI, the good overviews of actors and the extensive experience in working in the WIO region. 

Building block 2 – Establishing principles for admitting National Olympic Committees’ projects to the Olympic Forest network

The IOC’s Executive Board approved several principles that NOCs would have to meet to join the Olympic Forest Network.

To have their project included in the Network, an NOC is required to submit details for the IOC’s review and approval, based on these specific criteria/principles. The review process is coordinated together with environmental experts who provide their feedback to the NOC and have the possibility to carry out field visit whenever relevant.

Projects are required to:

  • Contribute to enhancing climate and nature protection and resilience;
  • Support and be delivered in partnership with local communities;
  • Be developed and implemented in collaboration with the relevant experts and authorities; and
  • Have a long-term maintenance plan in place.

These principles help guide NOCs in the creation of their projects and ensure that all projects that are part of the Network are contribution to climate action and nature protection. The principles also ensure that projects possess certain characteristics and collaborative structures that are to ensure local impact and projects’ long-term viability.

  • Knowledge and understanding of factors that are important for designing and implementing successful nature restoration projects.
  • IOC’s practical experience with the implementation of the Olympic Forest project.
  • Collaboration between sport and nature conservation experts.

Having principles “on paper” does not automatically mean that they will be perfectly implemented and adhered to by the NOCs from the very beginning. 

The application process to this initiative is a learning and improvement path where NOCs, under the guidance of the IOC and of environmental experts, can be guided to ultimately comply with all the requirements of the initiative and to create and implement high quality projects with tangible added value and shared benefits for the ecosystems and the local communities.

Building block 1 – Using an existing initiative (the Olympic Forest) as a blueprint for National Olympic Commit-tees to initiate their own nature restoration projects.

The IOC’s Olympic Forest project – a reforestation initiative launched in Mali and Senegal – generated interest from National Olympic Committees, who expressed their wishes to take action against climate change and to implement similar projects in their own countries.

Following this interest, the IOC launched the Olympic Forest Network, where NOCs could build on the original Olympic Forest project by designing and implementing their own initiatives to restore existing forests, wildlife corridors, coastal watersheds, and ecosystems, as well as implement regenerative agriculture projects.

The Network builds on, and expands, the IOC’s Olympic Forest initiative, helping to profile Olympic Movement’s work that contributes to fighting climate change and conserving nature. It recognises local projects delivered by NOCs according to best practices and within the IOC’s framework. The IOC provides support to NOCs (guidance, technical advice for the application to the network, workshops, webinars and in some cases funding), receives their projects and assesses them using specific criteria. Thanks to its offices located worldwide, IUCN helps the IOC in providing technical feedback about the projects, carrying out field visits and reviewing the technical documentation provided by the NOCs.


  • The IOC’s initial design and implementation of a reforestation project
  • National Olympic Committees’ interest in environmental work
  • The original implementing organisation’s (i.e. IOC) desire to expand its original project and support the organisations driving these secondary projects
  • The collaborative spirit encouraged by the Olympic Movement and facilitated by the IOC’s organisational structure (NOCs as constituents of the Olympic Movement under the leadership of the IOC)
  • Good communication between the IOC and NOCs

The establishment of clear guidelines and criteria for this type of initiative is essential to avoid the multiplication of low-quality projects with low added value and benefits for nature conservation and local communities. Leading by example in this field helps to drive the Olympic Movement into proper planning and proper allocation.

Stand on existing binational platforms

Three binational (Canada-United States) commissions play a role in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes, including the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), and International Joint Commission (IJC). More specific to the Great Lakes, the work of the IJC is supported through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). While none of these commissions explicitly represents and advances an agenda related to protected and conserved area (PCA) networks, they share goals and have capacities that can support such networks. 

To this end, the Great Lakes Protected Areas Network (GLPAN) continues to find opportunities to profile PCAs, meet its network ambitions, and address conservation issues by standing on these platforms. In particular, the GLWQA has specific Annexes addressing the priority issues which are also of importance to PCAs, such as Habitat and Species, Climate Change, Aquatic Invasive Species, Science, and Lakewide Management. Engaging with the GLWQA is an effective means to address conservation at scale and represents a significant return on investment given the capacity and collaborative support partners bring. More specifically, "Lakewide Action and Management Plans" (5 year rotation on each of the 5 Great Lakes) and "Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiatives" are two GLWQA initiatives that PCAs and PCA networks can lever and contribute to help advance conservation efforts.    

  • There are members on GLPAN who either work for a respective Commission or are actively involved in GLWQA committees. 
  • The efforts of the GLWQA and GLFC on issues such as aquatic invasive species, climate change, habitat and species, and water quality are collaborative in nature and implemented at a scale.  
  • While other platforms/forums may be involved in protection and restoration, PCAs may need to be prepared to express their own issues and concerns, that is, don't assume others will represent.
  • There are agencies working on Great Lakes protection and restoration space at a policy-level and welcome the opportunity to practice in a place-based manner with PCAs. 
Build a binational Great Lakes protected areas network

There are over 650 coastal and freshwater protected areas representing over 40 agencies in the Great Lakes. Prior to the Great Lakes Protected Areas Network (GLPAN) establishment in 2019 there was no forum or network that supported a direct dialogue or collaboration across protected and conserved areas in the Great Lakes. 

Members of the GLPAN are individuals or representatives from agencies that carry out professional activities related to Great Lakes conservation and/or protected areas management. Members are generally senior positions that can contribute expert knowledge, relevant information, and capacity to achieve GLPAN objectives, including: 

  • Contribute to the conservation and protection of the Great Lakes coast and lake ecosystems through a collaborative network of people and places; 
  • Provide a platform for enhancing communication and knowledge exchange across Great Lakes protected and conserved areas;
  • Build partnerships and support projects of interest to the GLPAN membership; 
  • Raise awareness and appreciation of Great Lakes protected and conserved areas with the public and other domestic and binational conservation initiatives; and, 
  • Serve as a regional hub for the North American Marine Protected Areas Network (NAMPAN). 
  • GLPAN membership has chosen to remain voluntary and unfunded. While there is an organizational structure and purpose, the informal nature supports collegiality and flexibility.    
  • The network is not competing with other protected area networks in the Great Lakes, the members essentially recognized and filled a need.
  • The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (including Lake Partnerships) is a platform that GLPAN can engage with and if necessary, use to advance initiatives and interests.
  • The pandemic normalized and equipped people to attend virtual video meetings. 
  • Early in its formation, members collectively worked on a GIS Story Map "Great Lakes, Great Protected Areas". This not on provided an experience and opportunity to collaborate but helped GLPAN to define its identity.
  • Some members feel the informal context creates a more open space for dialogue and sharing without the formalities sometimes associated with representing one's agency in an international forum (there is machinery for that sort of work if need be).
  • Scheduled meetings (quarterly) with invited speakers helps to maintain the interest and drive of GLPAN.