On World Ocean Day, I am celebrating these three milestones  

  • Rocky Sanchez Tirona
June 6, 2024

Every World Ocean Day, we raise awareness of the challenges facing our ocean and the people who depend on it for food, jobs, and protection from the impacts of climate change. But it is also a day to celebrate milestones on the road to protecting and restoring the ocean that sustains us. In that spirit, here are three recent milestones that serve as inspiration for what our work together can accomplish.  

    1. Community-led conservation in Palau. In May, legislation passed by the Melekeok State government in Palau placed a marine area under community-led management for the first time. The legislation adopted the Melekeok community-managed access plan and put the 172-hectare Ngeschisauisa Managed Access area off the nation’s eastern coast under sustainable, community-led management. Read the full story here.
      • Why it matters: The global Biodiversity Plan stresses the importance of meeting ambitious protection targets while recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous and local communities. Approval of this new Managed Access area in Palau is an important step towards community-led conservation.
    2. A growing global network of ocean champions. Last week, I joined 13 mayors and local leaders of the Coastal 500 from seven different countries in Siargao, Philippines, for the largest in-person gathering to date of members of the global network. Together, we visited local municipalities to see the elements of community-led conservation of the Community Seas come together—ecologically, financially, and socially. The leaders spent their days trading ideas, best practices, and challenges related to protecting biodiversity and meeting the needs of their local and Indigenous communities. In the evenings, we ate, danced and built lasting friendships. It was truly inspirational. Read media coverage of the summit.
      • Why it matters: The long-term viability of our Community Seas relies on engaged local leaders prioritizing sustainable management and inspiring other leaders to do so. Spending time together and learning from each other strengthens the foundation of this global network, sets the stage for its growth, and expands the reach of its mission to support thriving coastal communities and ecosystems around the world.
    3. A massive move for mangroves in Brazil. In March, Brazil declared two new Resex in Pará state along the country’s Amazon coast placing about 75,000 hectares of mangroves and other coastal ecosystems under protection. But what is so special about this milestone is that it was led by the local communities in an effort initially launched sixteen years ago. Read the full story here.
      • Why it matters: Brazil’s Amazon coast is home to a massive mangrove forest, which is essential to local economies and food security and is one of nature’s best tools for fighting climate change. With UNFCCC COP 30 scheduled in Belém, just about 200km away from these new Resex, there is a shining example of how we can build climate resilience while helping people.  

These are just three of the most recent examples of the impact Rare and our partners have had in protecting our ocean. And there are many more on the horizon, whether it is elevating women leaders in Mozambican fishing communities, securing investment for the establishment of new managed access areas in Indonesia, or helping implement the new protections for local small-scale fishers in Honduras. And I am certain that by the next World Ocean Day, we will have many more milestones to celebrate.