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MARGov - Collaborative Governance of Marine Protected Areas

MarGov – Collaborative Governance in Marine Protected Areas. The Eco-Social Dialogue in the Empowerment of Changing Agents for the Sustainability of the Oceans aimed to contribute to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity of Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park (PMPLS) in Arrábida, betting on a model of collaborative governance, in which each partner became an agent of change sustainable management of the area.

Prize Gulbenkian/ Oceanarium of Lisbon: Sustainable Governance of the Oceans” (Sept.2008. Application nº 96752)

Recognized as Significate Practices in the Project Citizenship and Territory (EEA Grants), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2014-15 ( 

Marine Park Area

Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park - Marine Protected Area (MPA). It is part of the Arrábida Natural Park. Occupies an area of 53 km2, it extends along 38 km of rocky coast, between Figueirinha Beach, at the exit of Sado estuary, and Foz Beach, north of Cape Espichel.


It is an area with high biodiversity, included in the national list of Natura 2000 sites - Arrábida-Espichel site.




Marine Protected Areas are key instruments for biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries management and cultural preservation of coastal societies. The scarce participation of local actors in the management of these areas is recognized as a barrier to the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of marine and coastal resources. The basis for effective co-management are a social agreement on conservation and use of these resources and a good articulation and communication between actors with different competencies, legitimacies and responsibilities.



To contribute to sustainable ocean management policies through the implementation of a Collaborative Governance Model of Marine Protected Areas. Strengthen the human and social dimension, contributing to the minimization and resolution of conflicts.



To construct, in collaboration with social and institutional actors, a Governance Model for the co-management of the Professor Luiz Saldanha (Arrábida) Marine Park, replicable and adaptable to other Protected Marine Areas.

Overall objectives


To empower change agents for sustainable governance of the oceans by strengthening eco-social dialogue.

To strengthen the human and social dimension in the management of marine protected areas by promoting the active participation of local communities and other key actors.

To structure a Geographic Information System (GIS) to support the entire collaborative process and to constitute an information / knowledge repository to support the development of long-term management actions.

Specific objectives


Engage in dialogue the key actors

- To promote the strengthening of eco-social dialogue and the active participation of local communities, stimulating interactive collaboration for co-management, reducing conflicts and strengthening long-term relationships.

- To contribute to resolution of conflicts, strengthening the constructive dialogue between actors in the debate about problems and search for solutions.


• Contribute to training of local actors, fostering the emergence of agents of change

- Raise awareness of key actors by exploring the complementarity of the knowledge they hold, and the corresponding potential for developing collaborative solutions

- To reinforce the competences and the responsibility of all the actors in joint management.


• Articulate knowledge and knowledges

- Enhance the interaction between different systems, articulating different types of knowledge (eg: traditional, cultural, technical-scientific);

- Create synergies to foster the exchange of knowledge, experiences and good practices among the different actors aiming the framing of new knowledge to build new collaborative solutions;

- Raise awareness among citizens, organizations and communities to understand the importance of Ocean by strengthening its identity with the sea.


• Structuring an integrated management platform supported by a GIS

- Development of an information / knowledge platform to support the participatory process in information sharing, characterization and diagnosis, conflict simulation, alternatives and prospective scenarios.

Target population


The direct stakeholders considered in MARGov project were the local communities and, in particular, the users of the Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park - professional fishermen, divers, recreational fishermen and nautical tourists, tour operators and local associations.


A number of entities, relevant in the area and in the surrounding area, were also included in the project activities, such as the Arrábida Natural Park (ICNB), the Sesimbra, Setúbal and Palmela Municipal Chambers, the Sesimbra and Setúbal Port Administration, the Polícia Marítima, the General Directorate of Fisheries, IPIMAR, among other institutions.


It is also important to emphasize the educational community, the local population, the tourists of the area and the population in general, although as indirect actors of the project.



The project was structured in 3 components:


• Governance that integrated aspects of participation, collaboration and decision making, ensuring the active and effective involvement of key actors;

• Citizenship that aimed the raising awareness and citizens and organizations training;

• Dynamic-spatial structure that ensured a dynamic spatial registration of information, supporting the knowledge gathered and generated throughout the project - this structure was developed throughout the collaborative process.

- Information: Sustainability indicators (socioeconomic, environmental and institutional / governance), categorized according to Pressure-State-Impacts-Responses model, viewable on a GIS platform.

- Modeling: Construction of a system dynamics model coupled with an information management model in GIS.

- Management: Use of dynamic-spatial model as a tool for potential effective PM management, allowing simulations associated with different types of performance scenarios.

The project predicted several phases that contain the support and involvement of dynamic-spatial structure:


• Development of Participatory Diagnosis and Reference Situation:

- Identification and analysis of key actors;

- Characterization of the reference situation and participatory diagnosis;

- Mapping conflicts and actors involved;

- Identification of barriers to the participation of key actors and the desired involvement type.


• Structuring and Conducting the Collaborative Participatory Process:

- Identification of issues / conflicts;

- Aggregation and selection of strategies;

- Definition of the key actors involved;

- Temporary structuring of the process;

- Timetable of the phases of the participatory process;

- Structuring and conducting of Partial Forums.


Elaboration of a broader awareness process within the various phases of the project:

- Identification of target audiences and partners to be involved;

- Exploration and work to build a market-related identity;

- Development of educational and training actions with specific audiences.


Participatory development of proposals for defining the co-management model:

- Key actors to be involved and their intensity of involvement;

- Role of each type and format of participation to be considered;

- Forms of collaboration and results / products;

- Priority actions in the short term;

- Phase-out of the co-management model.


  • Final Design of the Model of Collaborative Governance developed



The MARGov team has integrated a group of specialists with a diverse range of professional and academic backgrounds and backgrounds from various entities. MARGov, an IMAR project, was coordinated by a group of researchers from Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The unplanned involvement of a diversity of entities and actions is critical to addressing a complex and multidisciplinary problem of finding new forms of governance for Marine Protected Areas. The wTeamUp had the overall coordination of the project and specifically two components: Governance and Citizenship.


GOVERNANCE AND CITIZENSHIP: Lia Vasconcelos, Márilisa Coelho, Flávia Silva, Rita Sá, Ursula Caser, Graça Gonçalves, José Carlos Ferreira, Maria João Ramos Pereira


PPGIS: Marco Painho, Fernando Dias, Óscar Vidal Calbet, Paula Curvelo, Tiago Humberto Oliveira


SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS: Maria Helena Costa, Ana Sofia Marques, Sandra Caeiro, Mário Diniz, Tomás Ramos


DYNAMIC MODELING & SIG: Marta Bastos, Nuno Videira, Pedro Cabral



IMAR - Institute of the Sea

FCT / UNL - Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the New University of Lisbon

ISEGI / UNL - Higher Institute of Statistics and Information Management

CENSE - Center for Environmental and Sustainable Research

WTeamUp - Participation and Empowerment

Funded by:


Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation / Lisbon Oceanarium Award 2008 - "Sustainable Governance of the Oceans" (2008-2010)

Financial Support Fund for the Conservation and Research of the Lisbon Oceanarium - "Scientists as Citizens and Citizens as Scientists" (2011)


Relatório MARGov (PT)

Relatório MARGov (EN)


Folheto MARGov

Relatório Final MARGov - Parte A

Relatório Final MARGov - Parte B

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