GEF LME:LEARNing at the Marine Regions Forum 2019

16 Oct 2019 | by
A special session was organized by the GEF LME:LEARN on 1 October 2019 during the MRF 2019 in Berlin. Entitled “Advancing implementation of the ocean SDG through ecosystem-based management,” the session explored the potentials the Large Marine System initiatives/projects offer to reaching SDG14 targets through the application of EBM.

The GEF LME:LEARN session’s programme was divided into 3 sections: introduction on ecosystem-based management application in Large Marine Ecosystems; LME tools and case studies; and an open forum. Ivica Trumbic, GEF LME:LEARN Chief Technical Advisor, spoke of LMEs and EBM integration and shown some examples how particular LME projects have contributed to the implementation of the SDG14 targets. The second part of the session focused on tools, in particular Marine Spatial Planning (Julian Barbiere, IOC-UNESCO), and use cases in LMEs — Benguela Current (Andrew Hudson, UNDP), Yellow Sea LME (Sangjin Lee, UNOPS), and Mediterranean Sea LME (Gaetano Leone, UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan).

The cases presented highlighted the richness of the contexts where LME approach was implemented: a project which has resulted in establishment of an LME Commission (Benguela); a project operating in difficult political context but managed to get things done (Yellow Sea); and an LME where activities were nested into an already established institutional context (Mediterranean). Finally, Andrew Hudson presented the results LME projects have achieved in implementing their Strategic Actions Programmes (SAPs) with a focus on reaching the SDG14 targets. 

At the discussion that followed, participants raised a number of interesting questions. One participant asked why the LME boundaries have not changed for the last 35 years, although climatic changes have produced different environmental contexts, while another pointed out the issue of the adaptability of SAPs in relation to changing environmental issues within the LME boundaries, which points towards the need for a revision of existing SAPs and, eventually, revision of the approach to the development of SAPs.

The Marine Regions Forum (MRF) is an initiative of IDDRI, IASS and EU which gathers marine professionals from all over the world to discuss pending marine matters in order to improve regional governance of the oceans. The forum followed three major streams: Understanding challenges and achievements; Developing solutions and; Accelerating progress and creating new pathways. 

To read the day-to-day summary highlights from the MRF, visit

Photo: Participants of the Marine Regions Forum 2019