Indicator 81. Share of coastal and marine areas that are protected

Rationale and definition:

Well-governed protected coastal and marine areas have proven effective in safeguarding species habitats and populations.1 Goal C of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) calls to “improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.” In support of this, the CBD’s Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 aims to have at least 10% of coastal and marine areas protected by 2020.

The latest official statistics on marine protected areas (MPA) show that less than 3% of the global ocean is protected.2 Major efforts are required to meet Aichi Target 11 and particular emphasis is needed to protect critical ecosystems such as tropical coral reefs, seagrass beds, deepwater cold coral reefs, seamounts and coastal wetlands.3


Although mostly used at a global scale, the indicator is reported at the national level.

Comments and limitations:

A simple MPA percentage does not provide insight as to whether the protected area is being well managed or whether biodiversity is actually being secured.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Country monitoring.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)

  1. Secretariat of the CBD (2008). Protected Areas in Today’s World: Their Values and Benefits for the Welfare of the Planet. Technical Series No. 36.

  2. See Official MPA Map.

  3. See more on the CBD Technical Rationale on Target 11.