Vera, Bob, and colleagues from James Cook University and University of the Philippines recently published a paper in Coastal Management. This study, which was a chapter of Vera’s PhD, looked at various contextual factors that influence management of marine protected area (MPA) networks in the Philippines. By drawing on interactive governance theory, they evaluated how governance context affects participation, governance capacity and management performance of networks. This paper contributes to the understanding of how governance context can limit scaling up, and presents ways how to overcome these limitations.

Influence of Governance Context on the Management Performance of Marine Protected Area Networks

Abstract. In the Philippines, networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are more complex than individual MPAs, primarily due to involvement of multiple governance units. Hence, there is a need to understand the influence of governance context of networks on management performance. We addressed this need indirectly by evaluating the participation of network members and the governance capacity of three MPA networks with varying sizes, histories, and compositions of local governments and constituencies. We defined participation as the involvement of local governments and other stakeholders in decision-making processes. We defined governance capacity as the ability to govern interactions of social, economic, and political processes and dynamics in a political unit. We used qualitative, semi-structured key informant interviews and focus group discussions to ascertain whether participation and governance capacity are influenced by network size, institutional arrangements, and social and political contexts. We found that the sizes of the MPA networks did not affect participation and governance capacity. Instead, participation and capacity were influenced by institutional arrangements and the socioeconomic and political contexts of the local governments involved. We found that less complicated network objectives and systems for engagement, more inclusive membership, better communication, incentive systems, and strong leadership enhanced participation and governance capacity.

Full reference. Vera Horigue, Michael Fabinyi, Robert L. Pressey, Simon Foale & Porfirio M. Aliño (2016) Influence of Governance Context on the Management Performance of Marine Protected Area Networks, Coastal Management, 44:1, 71-91

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