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Kelp forest and fish

5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5)

3–9 February 2023 | Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Ocean conservation experts and high-level officials gathered to discuss how to advance Ocean protection and a way forward to achieve conservation targets, including to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and Ocean by 2030 (30 by 30).

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A marine protected area (MPA) is a section of the Ocean where governments place restrictions on human activity. Different MPAs provide different levels of protection. The Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) brought together Indigenous Peoples and cultures from around the world to embrace a collaborative approach and learn from Indigenous leadership with respect to marine protected areas and Ocean conservation.

Through dynamic keynote speakers, interactive in-person and virtual sessions, and arts and cultural elements, participants discussed how to protect 30% of the Ocean by 2030, with five thematic areas and three topic streams woven throughout.

The five themes of IMPAC5 were:  

  • Building a global marine protected area network;
  • Advancing conservation in the blue economy;
  • Actively managing marine protected areas and human activity;
  • Conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis; and
  • Connecting Ocean culture and human well-being.

The three streams that ran across all the Conference themes and discussions were:  

  • Indigenous Peoples’ leadership;
  • Young professionals; and
  • Innovation and transformational change.

IMPAC5 ended with a one-day Leadership Forum where the results of the Congress were presented.

IMPAC5 was jointly hosted by the Host First Nations— xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)—together with the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among others

IMPAC is a global forum that brings together Ocean conservation experts and high-level officials to address issues related to marine protected areas. IMPAC5 was expected to be the largest in the congress series to date with a goal of attracting 3,000 in-person attendees as well as 1,000 virtual participants.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For IMPAC5, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Anastasia Rodopoulou.

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