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Marine protected areas and marine spatial planning in Uruguay: valuation of ecosystem services for sustainable and equitable marine protection

  • 1 February, 2024
  • Wageningen University, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources
  • prof.dr. F. Alpizardr. M. Holmgren Urba
  • prof. M. Carriquiry

The maritime territory of Uruguay has productive ecosystems, rich in nutrients and of high biodiversity. However, the region is a hotspot for ocean warming. Its integrity is threatened by various factors such as overfishing and illegal fishing, pollution and marine traffic, and the overlapping of productive interests. Faced with these challenges, the Ministry of the Environment (ME) announced at the UN Ocean Conference in 2022 the road map “Uruguay Azul 2030” to reach the goal of 30% of marine protected areas by 2030.
The objective of this research is to evaluate the contribution to the social well-being of the MPA projects “Isla e islote de Lobos and submerged environment” (MPA1) and “Continental margin and slope” (MPA2) and identify sustainable, equitable, and viable mechanisms for their financing. Through spatial analysis and integral valuation (economic, sociocultural, and ecological) of the ecosystem services, it will evaluate how the costs and benefits of different MPA design options could be distributed in society. Likewise, this research will inform the design of feasible, sustainable, and equitable MPA financing mechanisms. The knowledge generated will provide guidance on the design and implementation of MPAs within the framework of marine spatial planning in Uruguay.

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Federico Fraga

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