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North American Marine Protected Areas Network

  > National System  >  International MPAs and the National System  > NAMPAN

The North American Marine Protected Areas Network (NAMPAN) is a network of "people and places" being developed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States with the support of the Biodiversity Conservation Program of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in North America (CEC). The CEC is an international organization established by the three governments under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. It was established to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental law. The Agreement complements the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The goal of NAMPAN is to work with a tri-national, multi-sectoral group of stakeholders in establishing an effective system of North American MPA networks that enhances and strengthens the protection of marine biodiversity. Specifically, the project seeks to:

  • Enhance collaboration among the three countries to address common challenges inherent in the protection of marine biodiversity and jointly prioritize conservation actions.
  • Develop effective conservation approaches and cross-cutting conservation initiatives that help conserve critical marine and coastal habitats and North American biodiversity, and recognize ecological, economic, social, and cultural issues.
  • Build regional, national, and international capacity to manage, conserve, and monitor the status of critical marine and coastal habitats by sharing effective conservation approaches, lessons learned, new technologies and management strategies, as well as by increasing access to and synthesis of relevant information.
  • Facilitate the strategic design and establishment of a global system of MPAs throughout North America and the world, as called for by IUCN (World Conservation Union).

In January 2004, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated the National Marine Protected Areas Center as the U.S. government lead to help develop the NAMPAN.

The NAMPAN partnership has produced several technical products and conducted technical workshops and symposia, including, but not limited to:

What's Next?

In October 2008, the tri-national partnership met to determine future actions including: identifying the Olympic Peninsula as the location of where to conduct a workshop to expand the NAMPAN "Baja to Bering" condition report process; selecting the extended Atlantic and Caribbean coast for Ministerial approval as the next priority region for NAMPAN project focus; and ways to better integrate NAMPAN activities into country agencies to provide a long term structure for NAMPAN project operation.

Additional information about NAMPAN, specific projects, and copies of final work products can be found at


NAMPAN Fact Sheet
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
NOAA's International Programs Office
U.S. National System of Marine Protected Areas
Framework for the National System of MPAs of the United States

For more information
To learn more about the MPA Center's work with the North American Protected Areas Network, contact: