Resilience twinning


The aim of the Resilience twinning (‘Resilience twinning – Marine and Coastal Protected areas coping with rapid changes’) is to reinforce the capacities of MPA managers to develop and implement Resilience Based Management (RBM), which will both increase the resilience of their MPA and the contribution of MPAs to coastal resilience and surrounding coastal territories.

In many countries of the Atlantic Basin, economic activities are increasingly concentrated near the coast, prompting populations to leave rural hinterlands for the coast. The coastal zone and by extension the marine landscape are predicted to experience significant changes that are already unfolding, due to demography, migration, and economic developments. The growth in coastal urbanisation as well as in industrial, port, energy and other infrastructure all contribute to natural ecosystem conversion and ecological service losses. In African countries the trend is particularly significant, with population growth taking place in peri-urban coastal lowlands of poor value, exposed to marine flooding. The changes are not always accompanied by adequate spatial planning processes and policies, and risk undermining the role and resilience of marine protected areas, along with the services they provide to support ecosystems and biodiversity. To respond, MPAs must be prepared to cope with rapidly changing environments, while their managers face a cultural shift to become active players in sustainable coastal development, adaptation and risk reduction.

During the earlier Transatlantic MPA project the Resilience twinning developed a set of guidelines on resilience to serve as a practical tool for MPA managers. The guidelines provide instruction on use of a Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (R-SAT), a demo version of which was made available online and tested in 14 MPAs.

The main results expected of the current twinning are as follows:

  1. The twinning will extend its coverage of topics – in earlier projects it focused on MPAs coping with rapid changes (e.g. urbanisation) and managing uncertainty (e.g. climate change impacts) – to address new topics on Resilience Based Management (RBM), coral reef and mangrove restoration, responding to new diseases affecting coral reefs in the Atlantic and SE Asia, sargassum aggregations, improving turtle conservation and ensuring resilience of MPA infrastructure.
  2. The twinning will expand to include new partners representing a geographical enlargement (in Africa and to the higher latitudes of the Atlantic, both north and south), as well as reaching out to new partners in SE Asia.
  3. The technical capacities of MPA managers will be strengthened (through improving and updating the resilience toolkit and guidelines, making it available in other languages and providing other resources on resilience to MPA managers).
  4. The coherence and outreach of the resilience twinning will be enhanced by exploiting synergies between the three twinning projects.
  5. The twinning will advocate for policy support to boost MPA management effectiveness in resilience, for example by promoting the mainstreaming of resilience in MPA management plans and the need to evaluate MPAs’ resilience capacities.


Cozumel (Mexico), Puerto Morelos (Mexico), JCNERR (USA), Northern Littoral Natural Park (Portugal), Emerald Ark (Gabon), ICMBIO (Florianopolis) (Brazil)

Images: (top) Sea anemone. Credit: Eva Tillmann. (right) Resilience Twinning video call. Credit: Ocean Governance project.