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Governing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in California: Analysis of the MLPA Implementation process

Jun, MS; (2014) Governing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in California: Analysis of the MLPA Implementation process. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Neoliberal governance strategies have been hegemonic in shaping global policy toward Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) over the past two decades. This impact has manifested itself in two key dimensions: the prominence given to public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the dependency upon civil society, particularly in the form of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As a result, it is necessary to give primacy to the implication of PPPs and the role of NGOs in considering how best to govern MPAs. This is particularly the case in relation to efforts which seek the ‘right’ combination of ‘the market’, ‘the people’ and ‘the state’. This thesis investigates the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) implementation process, and particularly the MLPA Initiative, which is widely publicised as a successful case of a science-based stakeholder-driven process through PPP. The thesis involves a thorough exploration of how an ideal combination could be achieved based on the Central Coast Study Region (CCSR) MLPA implementation process. Number of literary sources identified four key factors which have significantly contributed to the implementation of MLPA: 1) A strong legal mandate 2) Strong political will 3) A substantial level of stakeholder participation 4) Effective PPPs However, despite the widely publicised claims, research findings suggest that finding the ‘right’ combination for the MLPA implementation process remains a difficult task. The strong legal mandate, which has provided the foundation for the science used, constrained the stakeholder participation process. Indeed, it suggests that the terms ‘science-based’ and ‘stakeholder-driven’ could be to some extent, oxymorons, whilst strong political will could potentially compromise stakeholder participation. Effective PPPs for the MLPA Initiative represent a conundrum for PPP, since NGOs, including philanthropic foundations, increasingly exercise their influence on public policy to push through their agendas. Subsequently, PPP could potentially compromise the legitimacy of the process. Finally, the research findings suggest that the substantial level of stakeholder participation may not be a panacea for designating MPAs.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Governing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in California: Analysis of the MLPA Implementation process
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427878
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