Strengthening the Marine Protected Area System to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From August 6, 2014 to January 31, 2021

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 14.2 Sustainably manage, protect, restore marine, coastal ecosystems
  2. 14.7 Increase economic benefits of marine resources to SIDS
  3. 14.5 Conserve at least 10% coastal, marine areas

Project ID: 4389

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Strengthening conservation areas
  • Ecosystem management and restoration


  • Biodiversity financing
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation


  • Conserved areas
  • Marine


  • Marine and coastal protected areas
  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • Seas
  • Coral reefs
  • Seagrasses

Transformed sector(s)

  • Fisheries
  • Tourism

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Institutional mechanism and system building


  • Management operation
  • Finance economy
  • Governance


  • Conserved areas/ protected areas management
  • Integrated coastal zone management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Nature finance
  • Partnerships
  • Inter-sectoral coordination
  • Adaptive governance

Social inclusion

  • Local community/CSOs
  • Private sector

Gender equality

  • Women decision making

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender responsive


  • Sci-tech pathway
  • People pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 14.2 Sustainably manage, protect, restore marine, coastal ecosystems
  • 14.7 Increase economic benefits of marine resources to SIDS
  • 14.5 Conserve at least 10% coastal, marine areas

Conventions and protocols

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Private sector(s)

  • Individuals/Entrepreneurs
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises

Hot topic

  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration

About this project


The Strengthening Marine Protected Areas to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines (SMARTSeas PH Project), formerly MKBA Project, was developed due to the urgent need to accelerate the establishment of MPAs and MPANs to include more key marine biodiversity areas and improve MPA/MPAN management effectiveness to reduce the rapid degradation of marine and coastal habitats. This need was borne out of careful analyses of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), conservation NGOs, academe and research organizations of the current situation of marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the country. The Project has the following target outcomes:Increased management effectiveness of MPAs and MPA Networks. Conservation effectiveness of existing MPAs and new MPANs will be enhanced through improvements in spatial coverage and representativeness, strengthening of the national system for MPA identification, designation and management under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) legislative framework, and quantifiable improvements in management of at least 10% of identified marine key biodiversity nationwide, with concomitant increases in local stakeholder participation and support. Improved financial sustainability of MPA and MPA Networks. Financial resources for the management of MPAs and MPANs will be sufficient to meet all critical management needs and will grow in line with the expansion of the MPA system. Sources of revenue for MPA management will be progressively diversified, with the percentage of revenue to be derived from the government will decline to less than 50%.Established enabling policy framework of marine biodiversity conservation. A comprehensive policy framework to be in place and effectively implemented for the conservation, protection and management of the country's marine ecosystems and fishery resources, that will harmonize the mandates and activities amongst all key MPA stakeholders (BMB, BFAR and LGUs). SMARTSEAS PH Project is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including: (i) 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution; (ii) 14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans; (iii) 14.4 By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics; and (iii) 14.5 By 2020, conserve at least 10percent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information. SMARTSeas PH Project contributes to 2019 to 2023 Country Programme Document (CPD) Outcome 2 – Urbanization, economic growth, and climate change actions are converging for a resilient, equitable, and sustainable development path for communities. This Project contributes to the following CPD indicators: • 2.3.1 Area of UNDP-assisted protected areas with high biodiversity effectively managed• 2.3.4 Value of financing generated for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems The project is also fully consistent with the country's priorities and policies on biodiversity conservation. It contributes to the 2017 to 2022 Philippine Development Plan's (PDP) target on enhancing coastal and marine resource management through Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) and participatory environmental governance. At the DENR level, SMARTSEAS PH directly contributes to the Coastal and Marine Environment Program of BMB that seeks to establish and strengthen MPANs in the country. SMARTSEAS PH Project also contributes to the Philippines National Plan of Action for the Coral Triangle Initiative (under Executive Order 797), specifically in achieving the goals and targets on Marine Protected Areas, Climate Change Adaptation and Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management. It will designate priority CTI seascapes for sustainable management and help to integrate coastal and marine use plans into the comprehensive land use plans of Local Government Units (LGUs). The project is also consistent with national laws such as the Fisheries Code of 1998 (Republic Act 855), the Local Government Code of the Philippines, the (Republic Act 7160) and the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act 9147) which will provide the framework for fisheries management, local governance and the conservation of wildlife resources, respectively. It also supports Republic Act 9729 (the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009), by strengthening marine PA systems capacity to respond to climate variability and climate-induced risk. The project is also part of the Philippines efforts to support the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas. It will support targets 6, 10, 11 and 19 of the Aichi Targets , and Goal 1.1, 1.4, 2.2 and 3.1 of the PoWPA .


Strengthening the Conservation, Protection and Management of Key Marine Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines.

USD $8,160,600

Grant amount

USD $26,790,090

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($8,160,600)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of Philippines

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation



Strengthening the Marine Protected Area System to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas