Competence-based capacity development for effective MPA management

Lawrence Sisitka
Publicado: 07 Abril 2016
Última edición: 30 Septiembre 2020
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Western Indian Ocean – Certification of Marine Protected Area Professionals (WIO-COMPAS) is a competence-based approach to individual and organizational capacity development to address the problem of ineffective MPA management in the region, principally for the conservation agencies mandated with this task. To date it has certified 68 MPA personnel in 8 countries and has been integrated into the human resource management of 2 agencies, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and in South Africa, CapeNature.


África Oriente y África del Sur
Escala de aplicación
Arrecife rocoso / orilla rocosa
Arrecifes coralinos
Bosques costeros
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Humedales (pantano, turberas)
Mar abierto
Pradera marina
Actores locales
Gobernanza de áreas protegidas
Planificación de la gestión de áreas protegidas
Cambios en el contexto socio-cultural
Falta de capacidad técnica
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente vigilancia y aplicación de la ley
Falta de infraestructura
Deficiente gobernanza y participación




  • Ineffective MPA management
  • Limited competence of MPA personnel
  • Lack of dedicated MPA personnel and career pathing for MPA professionals
  • Limited resources
  • Limited collaboration within and across agencies
  • Lack of understanding of MPAs in agencies and governments
  • Increasing pressure on marine resources
  • Increasing political pressures for community beneficiation from marine resources and MPAs


MPA personnel, managing agencies/organisations, governments, fishers and other marine resource harvesters, scientific community

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

  • The competences are the foundation of the whole process, on which everything else is built.
  • The assessment instruments and tools are the means by which individuals’ competence is assessed against the competences. This establishes their real level of competence, identifies gaps requiring capacity building, and identifies those individuals with particular potential for career advancement. They, with the competences therefore provide the framework for the career pathing of the left-hand column.
  • The certification events provide professional recognition for competent personnel, and establish clear benchmarks for professional development and Key Performance Indicators. They ultimately set the standard for individual, team and organizational ability to fulfil the mandate effectively.
  • Institutionalisation integrates all the previous building blocks into a coherent, integrated approach to human resources management for management effectiveness.

Impactos positivos

Impacts have been made at:


Individual level, with 68 certified MPA-PROs. In a survey in 2012:

  • 90% of Level 1 and 80% of Level 2 PROs claimed to have become more confident in the execution of their duties
  • 90% of Level 1 and 60% of Level 2 PROs said the process had improved their MPA management capabilities

Organisational level, with 2 major conservation agencies:

  • Kenya Wildlife Service new HR policy has captured the concept of certification
  • 1 out of 9 months ranger training for KWS is now focused on MPAs
  • A full curriculum for MPA training is being developed for KWS
  • The CEO of CapeNature spoke at the WPC in 2014 in full support of the process of institutionalizing the programme in her organization, warmly recommending this to other agencies

Regional level:

  • 90% of Level 1 and 93% of Level 2 PROs stated that WIO-COMPAS had impacted to some extent or greatly on marine conservation in the region

Global Level:

  • The IUCN-WCPA Capacity Development Programme cites WIO-COMPAS as a model for competence-based certification and capacity development


In Kenya the coastal and marine environment is critical to the survival of species and human offering a wide range of ecosystem services. These include provisioning services like food, and socio-cultural services like tourism which contributes close to 12% of Kenya’s GDP. Competent professionals with a wide range of skills and abilities are critical to the proper management of marine and coastal resources to ensure persistence of species and continued delivery of ecosystem services. Mr Arthur Tuda is one of those marine and coastal professionals who have vast experience in marine conservation in Kenya. Mr Tuda works as a regional manager overseeing the coastal protected areas of Kenya that are under the Kenya Wildlife Service. He is in charge of five marine-protected areas (MPAs) and six terrestrial parks, and oversees a staff of more than 350 people who work in these protected areas. The responsibility that Mr Tuda has is not given lightly. He has earned it, proving his leadership abilities and job capabilities in part through certification as an MPA PRO (Marine Protected Area-Professional) in the Western Indian Ocean Certification of Marine Protected Area Professionals (WIO-COMPAS). Tuda credits his MPA PRO experience with building his confidence and competence in his professional field. In 2008, then a site manager. He was the first Kenyan to achieve Level 2 Site Management Certification. He remains an active leader with MPA PRO by becoming a Level 1 and Level 2 assessor. In this role he assesses the capacity of other East African MPA professionals hoping to get certified at Levels 1 and 2. In 2012 he proved his commitment to the value of the programme by attaining Level 3 Strategy, Policy and Planning Certification. In early 2013 he was promoted to the assistant directorship he now holds. Today, as Mr Tuda oversees more than 2,500 square kilometers of critical habitat, he uses what he has learned as an MPA PRO to take on the challenges of managing expansive conservation areas with limited resources and personnel. He constantly tries new ideas, improves strategies and works to keep his staff motivated. And he shares his MPA PRO-certified expertise every day by mentoring his staff, which he calls a favorite part of his work. Equally important is the leadership role he has taken in WIO-COMPAS to promote the value of MPA PRO certification.

Contribuido por

Julius Francis JuliusFrancis

Contribuído por

UmSenge Conservation