UCL Department of Geography


Diversity is key to the more effective and equitable governance of marine protected areas

25 January 2024, 6:15 pm–7:15 pm

Emeritus Professor Peter Jones

Professor Peter Jones's Retirement Lecture, looking at diversity in the governance of marine protected areas.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Emeritus Professor Peter Jones – Department of Geography


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre
005: Wilkins Main Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

About the lecture

A target to conserve 30% of oceans by 2030 through designating marine protected areas (MPAs) has been agreed, yet the effectiveness of existing MPAs is often low, with few weakly implemented restrictions on impacting uses.

In this lecture, Emeritus Professor Peter Jones will look back at his research, looking at over 50 case studies of MPAs across 24 countries through the MPA governance empirical framework, drawing on the co-evolutionary governance of social-ecological systems concepts.

He'll discuss how his work highlighted that:

  1. There is a strong correlation between the effectiveness of MPAs and the number of governance incentives used.
  2. Combinations of economic, legal, communication, knowledge and participatory incentives are shown to be employed in effective MPAs and mostly needed in less effective MPAs.
  3. Whilst some incentives are frequently identified as being important to promote effectiveness, no particular ‘magic wand’ incentives guarantee this.

Professor Jones will explain how these findings show that effectiveness is not determined by any specific governance approaches or incentives, but rather the combination of a diversity of functionally integrated incentives, which interact with and support one another to promote MPA effectiveness, resilience and equity.

In simple terms, diversity is the key to resilience, both of species in ecosystems and incentives in governance systems.

About the speaker

Peter Jones joined UCL after completing his PhD in 1997. He specialises in research on the governance of human uses of marine ecosystems, with a focus on marine protected areas and marine spatial planning.

He takes an applied trans-disciplinary approach, critically building on common-pool resource governance through the concept of coevolutionary governance.

Throughout his career, he has advised many national and international organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Commission and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Closer to his home, he chairs the Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority.

UCL Department of Geography Open Lecture Series 2023/24

All our lectures in this series are free to attend and open to all. You don't have to be a UCL staff member or student to come along.

Lectures begin at 6:15pm and are typically one hour long. A drinks reception will follow, to which everyone is welcome to join.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our events.

Visit our news and events pages for other upcoming lectures.

Access profile

We aim to make our events as inclusive as possible so if you have any accessibility requirements please let us know in advance so we can try to make reasonable adjustments and ensure the appropriate measures are taken.

  • Wilkins Building, Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre is located on the second floor of the south junction of the Wilkins Building.
  • There is step free access into the lecture theatre(s).
  • There is (staggered) tiered seating within the lecture theatre(s).
  • The steps to the (staggered) tiered seating do not have handrails.
  • There is not a hearing assistance system for the lecture theatre(s).

View the full access guide on the AccessAble website.


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About the Speaker

Emeritus Professor Peter Jones

Emeritus Professor of Environmental Governance at UCL Department of Geography

Peter specialises in research on different approaches to governing human uses of marine ecosystems. He is internationally recognised as an authority on marine protected area, marine spatial planning and fisheries governance issues, with a particular focus on how state, market and participative approaches can be combined to achieve strategic conservation objectives.

More about Emeritus Professor Peter Jones