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Session formats

ouverture conference amp pacifiqueOpening of the Regional Pacific Conference on Marine Protected Areas, November 2009. © Agnès Poiret / AAMP

More than 700 communications will be presented during the congress.

Many presentations will therefore occur in parallel, except during plenaries, which are shared moments. Our WebTV allows you to catch up with sessions you were unable to attend.

Each communication has been slotted into to one of the four formats listed below or to the Ocean+ Pavilion.

Sessions are open to all congress participants, within space constraints. No prior booking is necessary.

Plenary Sessions

At the core of the Congress, plenary sessions define its direction and clear the way for smaller meetings on more specific subjects.

Each day features three plenary sessions: one in the morning to define the broad issue at hand; one at midday to open up new angles; and one in the evening to offer a panorama of lessons that have been learned, agreements that have been reached, and arguments that remain unresolved.

In the morning, before participants break up to form separate workgroups, recognized authorities will introduce them to the day’s topics. By way of a keynote presentation or of a roundtable, they will set the stage, provide background information and open up possible lines of investigation.

After lunch, a second gathering will refocus the discussion, and perhaps help the audience consider it from a new perspective. This plenary differs from the other two in that it delves more deeply into a specific, particularly illustrative problem. It may give expression to more alternative or controversial points of view – opinions that are apt to engage and inspire participants, whether they agree or not.

The final roundup will provide a recap of what has been said and done throughout the Congress that day. Two rapporteurs, chosen for their cross-functional expertise, will present preconclusions based on reports submitted by every particular workgroup. Before they leave Pharo Palace in the evening, attendees will thus be left with a bird’s eye view of the progress made – and of the road that lies ahead.

Knowledge Cafés

Knowledge Cafés offer an opportunity to “think outside the box” on important issues and key concepts relating to ocean conservation.

The principle here is to pitch ideas, compare outlooks and exchange points of view, all in a warm and open atmosphere. It is a chance for each participant to come out with a deeper and broader perspective.

Knowledge Cafés are roundtables where like-minded people can enquire freely about how things are done elsewhere, and why. The relatively short format and small group size are designed to encourage a direct yet friendly style of exchange.


Workshops are a place to get away from the crowd and interact with specialists on specific topics, in a more personal way.

Workshops take place in mid-sized meeting rooms, under the leadership of recognized authorities. After their presentations, they act as moderators in open discussions where participants are free to ask hands-on questions on topics of immediate relevance to their practice or to their research. The goal is to build alliances and to exchange practical know-how. For this reason, group size is limited.

Workshops stick to a relatively short format of less than 2 hours, which allows participants to investigate a subject of personal or professional interest without interfering with the pace of plenary sessions.

Poster Session

Over one hundred posters have been selected. Displayed prominently around the mail exhibition hall, they open up windows onto the diversity of marine protected areas.

They tackle every angle of ocean conservation: technology, science, planning and management, cultures and traditions, community action, habitats and species, regional programs, and more. They help to address more specialized issues, innovative research topics, and incubating projects.

Posters tickle participants’ curiosity and prod them to explore new alleys. Among them, you may find hint of major orientations for future editions of the congress.

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