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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Coastal 500 named Earthshot Prize finalist

New York City—The Coastal 500, a global network of mayors and local leaders committed to healthy, prosperous, and thriving coastal communities, was named one of the 15 finalists for the 2023 EarthShot Prize.

The Earthshot Prize is a global environmental award that celebrates and champions innovators focused on solving global climate challenges. The Coastal 500, launched in 2021, is among three finalists in the Revive Our Oceans category. The winners will be announced in Singapore on November 7.

The Coastal 500, along with the 14 other Earthshot finalists, were chosen from more than 1,100 nominees. Each of the finalists will be in the running to receive one of five £1 million prizes awarded at the third-annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore later this year.

CLIMATE PROTECTION. Photo shows Rocky Sanchez Tirona, managing director of Rare, a global environmentalist group advocating the protection of coastal resources, such as mangroves (inset). Rare helped launch Coastal 500 which was recently named a finalist in the Earthshot Prize.

Currently, the Coastal 500 consists of more than 160 mayors or their equivalent from communities in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Micronesia, Mozambique, Palau, and the Philippines. These leaders represent communities adjacent to coastal waters, which are high in biodiversity and critical habitats, but are under enormous pressure from climate change, overfishing, pollution, and other human activity. The Coastal 500 leaders commit to protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems to safeguard ocean biodiversity, which improves the livelihoods and food security for half a billion people worldwide, while curbing climate change.

Prince William and Earthshot announced the finalists.

Since its inception, the Coastal 500 network has been a global leader in influencing stakeholders within the fisheries sector to ensure positive shifts in public opinion, political will, and government policies impacting coastal ocean waters and coastal communities. It has also served as a valuable platform for peer-to-peer learning, technical and network support, and advocacy development for coastal leaders from all over the world.

“Healthy oceans are vital to securing livelihoods, ensuring food security and slowing the effects of climate change,” said Rocky Sanchez Tirona, Managing Director of Rare’s Fish Forever program. “Rare nominated the Coastal 500 for the Earthshot Prize because we know the best way to restore and protect our ocean is to give the communities closest to them the tools, resources and rights to care for them. The members of the Coastal 500 are inspiring their fellow
local leaders to commit to thriving coastal communities through ocean protection and turning local action into global impact.”

“The concept of the Coastal 500 is rooted in Rare’s belief that locally-led solutions achieve the greatest impact for people and nature,” said Brett Jenks, CEO of Rare. “We are thrilled to see the spotlight shine on these local leaders and the communities they serve in hopes that it inspires even greater support for locally-led conservation. And we are grateful to the Earthshot Prize Council for recognizing the value of local leadership in tackling our planet’s greatest environmental challenges.”

The principal aspect to the Coastal 500 is the Participant Pledge, where members publicly commit to take specific actions to build healthy, prosperous, and thriving coastal communities through activities focused on:

● Promoting responsible fisher behaviors

● Advocating for the rights of local fishers to access local waters

● Encouraging participation in fisheries management

● Endorsing no-take reserves

● Investing in community-based fisheries management

● Sharing lessons and experiences with other local leaders from around
the world.

Rare, through its Fish Forever program, is the main facilitator of the Coastal 500. Rare’s Fish Forever program works to empower coastal communities to sustainably manage coastal resources and prevent overfishing. The program has engaged over 1,700 communities across eight countries and is helping place over 5,500,000 hectares of ocean water under sustainable management. Rare and the Coastal 500 are made possible with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Bloomberg Ocean Initiative. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ environment program leads efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment by driving the transition to clean energy, supporting local climate action, and preserving ocean ecosystems.

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