International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

3. The strategic importance of TDAs, SAPs and NAPs and recommendations for areas where these can be strengthened

LME projects aim to safeguard and restore ecosystems, ensuring the sustenance of living resources, ecosystem processes and habitats in balance with human needs. The original GEF Operational Strategy of 1995 recommended a series of processes to help countries begin to work together on their shared transboundary concerns. These includedthe TDA and SAP development approaches. These are tools and mechanisms to help countries work together and build trust on a multi-country scale (Duda 2016).

GEF IW:LEARN has developed tools for Project Managers including the GEF TDA/SAP Manual which has recently been updated. There has been a good exchange of information between the manual and this toolkit, and the intention is for them to cross-reference each other where appropriate.

3.1 The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA)

A TDA is a factual report addressing the scientific and technical assessment of an international waters area. The TDA aims to assess the nature and severity of transboundary environmental issues and threats, causes and impacts in the socio-economic, political and institutional context of the region in question. The identification of direct, indirect and root causes of water-related issues is essential in the TDA process (Duda et. al. 2002), and is usually achieved through a causal chain analysis. The TDA provides information related to the changing state of LMEs and the causes of environmental degradation. The goal is to provide a comprehensive factual basis on which to develop options for mitigation or remediation of threats through actions that can be designed into the SAP (Wang 2004). The TDA is intended to be updated periodically and can thus also be considered a diagnostic tool for measuring the effectiveness of SAP implementation (Duda 2014).

As defined by GEF International Waters: “The purpose of conducting a TDA is to scale the relative importance of sources and causes, both immediate and root, of transboundary ‘waters’ problems, and to identify potential preventive and remedial actions. The TDA provides the technical basis for development of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) in the area of international waters of the GEF.” (IW resources guide, terms and definitions).

Transboundary issues may be defined as national or regional issues affecting more than one country, issues that have a source in one country and an impact in another, issues with a source in the high seas that impact national waters, or issues with a source in one or more EEZs that impact the high seas.To date, 17 of the 18 LMEs that have received GEF LME Project investment have completed TDAs.

The TDA is often the first opportunity for countries to compile data and information on a multi-country ecosystem. The joint exercise of assimilating information allows the participating countries to contribute national information, to discuss and to understand the state of the environment in neighbouring regions. This process of compiling information in a shared process builds trust and working relationships across the countries, fills information gaps in the functioning of the larger ecosystem, and builds a shared regional perspective of the LME.

The GEF considers five priority areas for prevention and control and gives priority to holistic rather than sectoral approaches to addressing these threats:

1Land-based sources of pollution, especially persistent toxic substances, heavy metals, and common contaminants such as nutrients, biological contaminants, or sediments,

2Land degradation where transboundary marine environmental concerns result from desertification or deforestation,

3Degradation and modification of critical habitats,

4Unsustainable use of marine resources, and

5Ship-based sources of chemicals and alien species.

The TDA process is divided into three parts:

Assessing current status. The fact-finding process of assessing the current status, issues and threats to the ecosystem. The TDA for each LME needs to address the scale of problems, whether localized to a hotspot, national, or regional in nature. It is good practice to also identify emerging threats, which might either not be well understood or well quantified, but which might have a rapid and significant impact. An example would be the recent discovery of significant oil and gas reserves in the Mozambique channel. This was flagged in the ASCLME National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses (MEDAs) and TDA as a significant emerging issue (ASCLME/SWIOFP 2012).

Causal Chain Analysis (CCA). The analysis of the issues and threats facing the ecosystem, their proximal, indirect and root causes (in the socio-economic, political, legal and cultural domains). In the past, actions often focused on removing the symptoms of coastal and marine degradation. The identification of direct/proximal, indirect and root causes focuses action at the appropriate level and has a much greater chance of long term success. The causal chain analysis makes the link between the natural systems and human impacts, benefits and well-being. ►TDA/SAP Manual-Causal Chain Analysis section

Presenting options for action. The process of formulating options for mitigation or remediation of issues and threats. This should be informed by the governance analysis, socio-economic studies, and be supported by cost-benefit analyses. Costs and benefits to be considered must include financial as well as environmental effects. In most LME TDAs, options for action are presented in the TDA, but in some cases the options for action are presented only in the SAP. Either way, the optimal interventions are presented in the SAP, and a programme of action is then developed for their implementation.

As described in the TDA/SAP Manual, the key steps in the TDA development process are:

1Definition of system boundaries,

2Collection and analysis of data/information including reference to global/regional needs for data and indicators and linkages to the GEF TWAP, Indicators,

3Identification and prioritisation of the transboundary problems and the potential for climate change and variability to impact these problems,

4Determination of the environmental and socio-economic impacts,

5Analysis of the immediate, underlying, and root causes,

6Development of thematic reports (e.g. stakeholder, governance analysis, ecosystem status and pressures, etc.),

7Identification of leverage points, and

8Drafting the TDA.

The TDA/SAP process has been designed in order to build consensus in a step-wise manner, beginning with the evidence-based, factual, scientific TDA, which describes the LME itself and analyses the transboundary system itself, transboundary concerns, direct and root causes thereof. The analysis of causal chains is essential for identifying the underlying/root causes of transboundary concerns in order for appropriate reforms in governance regimes to be identified and recommended.

Root causes tend to be similar across many of the LMEs, including for example, overfishing, climate change shifts, pollution and eutrophication, deficiencies in law or implementation of policies and management plans. In the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), for example, causes are identified as poor legal frameworks, inadequate implementation of existing legislation, inadequate capacity development (human and infrastructure) and training, inadequate planning at all levels, insufficient public involvement, and inadequate financial mechanisms and support (Wang 2004).

Key principles of the TDA/SAP approach include:

Adaptive management,

The Ecosystem Approach,

Sustainable Development,

Poverty Reduction,

Gender Mainstreaming,

Climate Variability and Change,

Collaboration with Other Approaches (ICM, MSP etc),

Stakeholder Consultation and Participation,

Stepwise consensus building,



Inter-sectoral policy building,

Donor partnerships, and

Government commitment.

Projects have approached TDA development in different ways. Some LMEs have followed the approach of developing regional thematic reports, others have developed multidisciplinary National Diagnostic Analyses, and yet others have done both. The national component ensures that national information feeds into the regional process, and the regional multilateral process is important to achieve a shared understanding of the status of the shared water body. The discussion of proposed options for intervention should also take place at regional level, since regional actions should have a multinational impact.

TDA challenges are :

The process of engaging appropriate stakeholders is very time consuming,

The time required for compiling and reviewing a TDA is usually underestimated,

All relevant sectors must be engaged to ensure the TDA addresses all components of the ecosystem,

Levels of knowledge, access to information and writing skills will differ between countries in the LME, but a fair platform must be provided for all partners to engage as equals.,

Information provided for the purposes of compilation in a TDA might be inconsistent or even contradictory,

Stakeholders might be reluctant to contribute information,

Since the TDA can take several years to finalise, emerging issues might become apparent during or near the end of the process,

Participating countries will have different legal and institutional frameworks as well as socio-economic and cultural differences, and

International disputes (over EEZ boundaries, for example) might have an impact on TDA discussions.

Recommendations to improve TDA are:

Make sure that adequate time is given to the TDA planning process,

Engage stakeholders early and often Stakeholder Toolkit (chapter 4. Stakeholder engagement processes),

Keep the process transparent,

Employ a peer review process,

To build national ownership for the TDA development process, an interministerial committee (IMC) or coordination mechanism should be established in every participating country in order to facilitate communication between ministries responsible for marine sectors, and to set up mechanisms for the technical tasks of collecting information that feeds into the TDA, as well as to make the link between the SAP and NAP,

In countries where national ICM or MSP committees already exist at high level, the same structure could be used for the TDA/SAP process. This would encourage even better coordination of different management approaches and tools in-country,

Make sure that space is provided for the rapid inclusion of emerging issues,

Even though they might be beyond the scope of GEF eligible financing, make sure that crosscutting issues such as population growth in coastal areas, ocean warming, ocean acidification, emerging upstream issues and sea-level changes are mentioned in the TDA,

During the early stages of the TDA process, the identification of issues should not be limited to those resolvable with GEF assistance. All issues facing the LME should be properly documented as the question of what should be taken forward into the SAP is a separate step,

Transparency, adequate financial resources, timing and keeping momentum are all critical elements to keeping the process going, and

Within the TDA process, there is room for standardizing methodological elements such as the terms used in the causal chain analysis. There is currently considerable variation between causal chains, which makes it difficult to compare them across LMEs (UNDP 2017).

3.2 The Strategic Action Programme (SAP)

A Strategic Action Programme (SAP) in the context of the LME approach, is an agreed, multinational framework for strategic actions to protect the coastal and marine environment. The SAP contains a series of policy, legislative, socio-economic, and other actions to be undertaken at regional level, with the aim of enhancing the management of the ecosystems concerned. Actions that also need to be implemented at national level (in order to contribute to the regional outcome) are usually incorporated into a National Action Plan (NAP), which is the “nationalized” version of the regional SAP.

The SAP is based on the output of the TDA, and specifically on the priority issues, direct and root causes, which underpin the regional consensus for action (Wang 2004). The SAP is usually compiled by a very high level multinational committee, the members of which have sufficient national standing in order for them to obtain national endorsement at Ministerial level.

As described in the TDA/SAP Manual the strategic component of the SAP process has 2 key phases:

Strategic Thinking:

Defining the vision,

Setting goals or status statements,

Brainstorming new ideas/opportunities for innovation, and

Identifying options or alternatives.

Strategic Planning:

National and regional consultation processes,

Setting strategies for implementation,

Action planning - Setting actions, timescales, priorities and indicators,

Drafting the SAP, and

Steps towards SAP implementation.

The SAP for an LME is the commitment of the governments concerned to accept joint or harmonized management principles and to implement agreed policy actions, institutional reforms and investments in order to reach the shared objective of a healthier and more resilient transboundary waters system. Although based on the TDA, the SAP must also be guided by socio-economic and governance analyses as well as cost-benefit studies that will suggest appropriate interventions that have the maximum benefit for the region. The SAP should also facilitate adaptive management to provide for the periodic review of the environmental status of an LME, and to identify new issues as and when they arise.

SAP actions may also include policies and principles relevant to existing international law, thereby harmonizing the regional objectives in line with international best practice.

The development of the SAP is a negotiated, cooperative process which is useful to scope the level of trust and confidence in the region, to see whether countries could reach consensus and agree on joint action before the GEF commits to expensive management reforms. The SAP should ultimately be signed at Ministerial level. After approval by each of the participating countries, investment projects (SAP implementation projects) may be developed to implement technical assistance, capacity building, management and policy reform measures that contribute to resolving the shared transboundary issues of concern.

SAP challenges are:

Participants in the process might limit themselves to thinking about issues and challenges that are eligible for GEF funding in the SAP.

Countries will have different resource use goals. One country might be very resource driven and another conservation driven.

Recommendations to improve SAP are:

Within the TDA-SAP process, there is an urgent need to streamline the science to policy process, so that time is not lost between the identification of a critical or emerging issue, and an appropriate policy response. The science-to-policy mechanism should not be entirely reliant on the TDA-SAP process which, while comprehensive, takes a long time to implement. Additional measures are needed to ensure that new issues are validated, quantified, and receive an appropriate, rapid, management response (UNDP 2017),

While keeping the SAP focused and pragmatic, it should be remembered that the GEF is not the only funder of SAP actions, and efficient partnerships with other funders can be used to leverage additional investment in joint action,

A vast collection of information (manuals and guides) is available in the GEF IW:LEARN portal on the TDA and SAP process, project experiences and evaluations. This material should be accessed and used widely as a reference,

SAPs should include consideration of long term climate changes and potential effects on LMEs, both ecologically and socio-economically, and

Consider SAP implementation options from the start of the TDA planning process, and make sure that all relevant stakeholders and implementation partners are involved in the process as early as possible.

3.3 National Action Plans (NAP)

NAPs (sometimes called National Action Programmes) are strategically important for the nationalisation of SAP actions. The process of NAP development could be driven from national level through the initial identification of national-level priorities which are then used to craft the regional SAP. An example of this approach is in the South China Sea (SCS) preliminary National Programme of Action used in the development of the regional TDA (Wang 2004).

As an example, the NAPs for the SCS member states each have the following structure:

1Constraints to action, which analyses barriers to the member state’s national action on issues. Common constraints include lack of information, scientific uncertainty, lack of public awareness and involvement, economic shortages, legal and management deficiencies, lack of political will to apply sustainable development principles,

2Ongoing and planned activities that are relevant to the SCS / SAP issues and activities,

3Specific actions proposed for each identified issue, including rationale, description, responsible agency, cost and source of funding, and

4Implications for the actions by sector. This illustrates the effects of actions on various sectors, as well as the proposed role of each sector in implementation.

The NAPs for the SCS region are fairly diverse, and actions differ although some issues are similar (Wang 2004). This is to be expected as each national context is different, and the strength of the NAPs is in facilitating a specific and appropriate national response to a regional priority.

As a parallel activity to the development of national Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses and the TDA for the Agulhas and Somali LMEs, the ASCLME Project supported the analysis of the local economies in demonstration sites in each of the participating countries, and then supported the community-led development of Local Economic Development Plans (LEDs). The SAP implementation project SAPPHIRE intends to update these and implement them with National Action Plans.

Wang (2004) uses the National Caspian Action Plans (NCAPs) as an example, formulated by the Caspian riparian states, although this is not an LME. The NCAPs are self-contained, and contribute to the Caspian Environment Programme. The example of the Azerbaijani NCAP is used, and consists of the following sections:

1The introduction describes the objectives of the NCAP, the connection to the TDA and SAP, links to other related investments in the region, methods for developing the NCAP, national status (endorsement to implementation) and the process for revision and amendment.

2National conditions describes the current national political, institutional, legislative and socio-economic situation and the country’s social, institutional and financial capacity for the protection of the Caspian environment.

3The importance of the Caspian Sea for the country defines the national geographical and economic areas where the human activities and environment interact, identifies potentials for the contribution of the Sea to the national economic development, and shows the environmental, economic and social significance of the sea in the national context.

4Main problems and their root causes identifies and prioritises existing and emerging transboundary issues and problems of the environment from a national perspective, and provides a causal analysis that links them to immediate and root causes.

5The strategy and measures section identifies criteria for the ranking of causes and determination of primary strategies and measures that need to be taken.

6Potential Obstacles and Ways of Overcoming identifies and examines a range of issues (political, institutional, socio-economic, technology and financial) that might hinder successful solution of the problems and propose solutions.

7The resources attraction strategy identifies the main financial resources for the implementation of the NCAP, including national and external resources.

8The mechanisms of action identifies and establishes the organisational structure for implementing and evaluating the NCAP. It also includes public awareness and communication actions.

Main NAP challenges lie in the fact that national priority setting and design of NAPs can vary substantially across a region because of different economic needs, capacities and priorities across countries. This can potentially lead to a gap in priority setting between the SAP and the NAPSs. Poverty alleviation and community livelihood development are often national priorities but are not often highly rated as priority regional actions (Wang 2004).

The main recommendation to improve NAPs is that each nation state should design its NAP to respond to the regional needs of the SAP, but put into the institutional and legal context of the country. Specific national activities, measures and funding are required to carry out the NAP.

3.4 The spatial variability of transboundary concerns and SAP reforms

While the scope of the TDA should cover the entire LME area, it shoud also explicitly define or update the management boundary, based on the LME criteria, and including Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) where appropriate.

Within the broader scope regional scope of a TDA, LMEs will often identify hotspots of concern or narrower geographical issues or features which are deserving of specific attention. It is also essential to consider upstream impacts from watersheds (agricultural practices) as well as potential impacts from the high seas.

A question of scale

GEF interventions have been made at varying spatial scales (1) global, (2) regional groupings of LMEs, (3) LMEs (4) geographic sub-sets of an LME (5) national sector, and (6) local cities, communities and site-specific ecosystems (Duda 2016). Within LMEs, smaller management units are also used for specific management purposes. Examples of these include SIDS and hotspots of conservation concern (habitats or species) (IOC/UNESCO 2011). GEF’s strategy has been to implement projects at various scales, depending on regional needs. The Governance toolkit (4.1 Scale of Governance section) explains the different scales of governance in LMEs in detail.

Vietnam in the South China Sea LME provides a good example of GEF IW interventions at different scales (Duda 2016).

Sub-national scale

Marine realms, seascapes, hotspots, world heritage sites, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) and ICM models are usually applied at the sub-national scale. The regional enabling environment is often at national level, with sub-national site level jurisdiction as well. LMEs may rarely also be sub-national in scale such as those within Australia’s EEZ, and the Bird’s Head Seascape.

National scale

EEZs are by definition, at national scale. MPA networks and ICM policies usually have some management at national level, and Marine Spatial Planning activities are often initiated at national scale with one or more sub-national pilot or demonstration sites. LMEs rarely map exactly to the national EEZ of one country, with an exception being the New Zealand LME.

Transboundary scale

Transboundary management instruments may cover two countries, or multiple countries. The LME approach was specifically designed to be able to operate at this scale, across countries.

Other examples of transboundary-scale instruments for marine management and governance are Seascapes as defined by Conservation International and Marine Ecoregions as defined by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy. In these cases, integrated management is usually led by different organisations at national level, with national and sub-national scale partners engaged in the process. At regional level, important organisations are the LME organizing body, international treaties, associations and other organisations that are stakeholders in marine and coastal management (for example:

the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to the BCLME,

the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), Indian Ocean Commission (COI) and AU to the ASCLME, and

The EU to the MEDLME region as well as other policy instruments including MAP’s Strategic Action Programme (SAP) to address pollution from land-based activities (SAP MED); the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), launched by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) established under the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP).

3.5 Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJs)

ABNJs make up over 64% of the surface area of the oceans, and almost 90% of its volume. Lying beyond national jurisdiction, and far from the coasts, ABNJs need specific instruments to ensure their management and protection. They are not protected from negative impacts such as marine pollution, and overexploitation of resources even though they might be further from land. Support from The GEF has led to the establishment of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, which has responsibility for the sustainable use of tuna resources worth approximately USD $ 4 billion a year across an area of approximately 100 million km2 surrounding the waters of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (

The Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Program was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the lead of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in close collaboration with two other GEF agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, as well as several other partners. The ABNJ Program is currently underway. It focuses on tuna and deep-sea fisheries as well as the conservation of biodiversity, and aims to promote efficient and sustainable management of fisheries resources in ABNJ.

► /background/en/

Within the Program, the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region is a test case for the use of spatial planning tools in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), linking up with the efforts of the GEF-funded Western Indian Ocean Strategic Action Programme (WIOSAP) and Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonisation and Reform (SAPPHIRE) SAP-implementation projects. This region might produce some very useful lessons for the implementation of MSP in both LMEs and ABNJs, through a partnership of two SAP-implementation projects as well as FAO and UNEP-WCMC.

During both the TDA and SAP process, specific reference must be made to Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) if they are included in the LME management area, and particularly with respect to biodiversity in ABNJs as guided by the proposed UNCLOS instrument (UNDP 2017).

3.6 Additional recommendations for strengthening the TDA/SAP/NAP process

At the project design phase, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure the viability of organizational structures beyond the term of GEF intervention, to ensure institutional sustainability into the future. Implementing and executing organisations must be carefully selected and considerations for sustainability built into the project design (Duda et. al. 2002).

Starting the TDA-SAP process at national level with the formation of national inter-ministerial committees and the development of National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses is a valuable tool for building ownership of the process in every participating country. It has the additional benefit to countries of improving inter-ministerial coordination at country level, but also for supporting the SAP and NAP processes and ecosystem monitoring in the longer term.

Similarly, the establishment of activity centres or thematic centres can assist participating countries in building national ownership. In the Guinea current region, the GCLME Project established Regional Activity Centres of Capacity for Productivity, Fisheries, Environment, Information Management and Pollution Monitoring. These effectively connected international development goals with implementation efforts on the ground at local scales (Abe et. al. 2016).

The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project established three activity centres in the three participating countries:

in Namibia, the activity centre for Living Marine Resources

in Angola, the activity centre for Biodiversity, Ecosystem Health & Pollution

in South Africa, the Activity Centre for Environmental Variability

It is good practice to make use of or base national inter-ministerial committees on existing national ICM committees or MSP committees where they already exist, as they tend to already include sectors such as environment, oceans, fisheries, spatial planning, marine transport and mining. Additional sectors can be added as required. This approach will avoid duplicating structures, putting additional burdens of time on few people who may have many diverse responsibilities, and will also benefit from co-financing. This point is also clearly addressed in the LME Project Toolkit (Chapter 3. Preparation of TDA Projects).

LME projects must ensure that they address river input and adjacent coasts, either within their remit or in partnership with other projects, to avoid the case of addressing only the marine realm.

The TDA/SAP Manual points out that most TDA and SAP processes are run separately, with poor linkages between the technical TDA and the negotiated SAP. This can lead to a situation where SAP recommendations do not clearly meet TDA priorities, and the logical link between the two is not robust. The link might be even weaker in the case where the TDA was developed via one LME Project and the SAP via another.

Each LME has its own unique ecological, socio-economic and political characteristics, so the LME process must be tailored appropriately. However, the content, objectives and effectiveness of existing TDAs and SAPs vary considerably at present. Standardised TDA requirements and SAP structures will help to allow for better comparison between TDAs and between SAPs at a global scale (UNDP 2017). The TDA/SAP Manual should be used as a guiding document at the planning stage.

Sufficient emphasis needs to be placed on developing a comprehensive and sound TDA, including the best available data and information, comprehensive causal chain analysis, cost-benefit analyses, governance and institutional assessments. This will ensure that the SAP is based on a solid foundation.

The cost-benefit analyses in particular can provide the facts and tools to justify policy reform (UNDP 2017) Environmental Economics for Large Marine Ecosystem management Toolkit (Chapter 7. Economic appraisal frameworks)

LME projects should develop a data and information management plan to ensure that policies and procedures are in place, and that they are agreed by all partners. New data that are collected during the TDA process at national or regional level must be properly described, and appropriately archived. It is recommended to use the internationally recognised IOC/UNESCO supported National Oceanographic Data Centres where appropriate, as well as other global repositories such as OceanDocs, OBIS, HAB system, GEF IW:LEARN marine domain, Regional Seas Conventions where appropriate, and the World Ocean Database. While some datasets owned by countries are only released at their discretion, new data collection funded by the GEF must be made publicly available (after a short delay to allow for publication, if necessary). (IOC/IODE, ASCLME D&I plan, ASCLME policy)

The use of short, descriptive TDA and SAP briefs for the communication of core principles to a wide audience, can be very effective. They can be especially effective for raising awareness at senior government level. A sound communication strategy would help to raise awareness of the importance of the SAP, and the need for the LME approach. It should include mechanisms for dissemination of information to a range of people, from scholars and students, to communities, civil society and the commercial sector (UNDP 2017).

A frequently-raised concern is the drawn-out time interval between the SAP negotiation/adoption at the end of one project phase, and SAP implementation at the beginning of the next project phase (UNDP 2017). This interval can run to several years in certain cases and has created problems for efficient LME management around the world. Much of the momentum, goodwill and sense of ownership that is built up during the TDA/SAP development project has dissipated by the time the SAP implementation project begins; many of the IMC and TDA team members have moved on or changed jobs, and much time and expense has to be expended to regenerate or build new teams of people from participating countries, many who will not have been involved in the TDA/SAP process. GEF should seek to identify mechanisms to bridge this transition period or to try to reduce its duration.

Where non-GEF-eligible countries are part of an LME, every effort should be made to include those countries in the TDA/SAP process, so as not to leave them out of the regional decision-making process. Finding national funding for their involvement, or funding from another source, would ensure that those countries are fully a part of the TDA/SAP process, contribute effort and information to the process and are also engaged and in agreement to take responsibility for SAP actions.

The SAP endorsement process should not be rushed; some SAPs that have had quick endorsement have lacked sufficient detail, whereas a slower process might deliver more realistic management objectives and more commitment in the long term.

The identification of regional and local partnerships for the TDA/SAP process is key, and it is recommended that these partnerships be formalized early on, through a series of MoUs or similar, as well as through close project interaction via the PMU or Steering Committee. That way, partners become properly engaged in the process, can more easily articulate their contributions to the SAP implementation process, and there is greater likelihood of the sustainability of the partnership/s into the future. Stakeholder Engagement toolkit (Section 4.2 A four-phase model for stakeholder engagement

There is a critical need for ongoing support for strengthening institutional capacity in the ocean sciences, integrated oceans management and to support coordination in-country with regard to coordination among ministries and departments in many developing countries, SIDS, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and coastal African countries. Opportunities exist for sharing of lessons learned, twinning between LME projects, and capacity development via South-South cooperation as well as the traditional North-South pattern (UNDP 2017).