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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Coastal 500?  

The Coastal 500 is the largest global network of Mayors and local government leaders  committed to work towards thriving and prosperous coastal communities. They are united on  recovering and sustaining coastal seas, sharing best practices and key lessons worldwide. It  aims to help all members achieve sustainable fisheries that build community prosperity while  safeguarding the environment. 


Who is a part of the Coastal 500? 

The Coastal 500 is made up of mayors and other local government leaders from countries across the developing tropics. Right now, members hail from Brazil, the Federated State of Micronesia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mozambique, Palau, and the Philippines. 


What are our goals?  

The Coastal 500 aims to dramatically change the way communities protect their coastal waters,  and influence the way entire nations and regions manage their fisheries. The network will  establish global leadership for small- scale fisheries and will work together to influence  stakeholders in the fisheries sector that leads to positive shifts in public opinion, political will,  and government policies. It will also serve as a valuable platform for peer-to-peer learning,  technical and network support, and advocacy development for coastal leaders from all over the  world.  

Why is Coastal 500 needed? 

The livelihoods of approximately 200 million people worldwide are directly or indirectly tied to  coastal fisheries, which are located in the thin band of ocean 12km from shore. This area is also  home to most of the ocean’s biodiversity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization  of the United Nations, approximately one in five people globally depend on fish for a significant  part of their animal protein, while in many of the least developed countries of Africa and Asia,  that number is closer to fifty percent.  


However, the ocean is under enormous pressure. Climate change, overfishing, pollution and  other human activity is leading to warming ocean temperatures and acidification, which is in  turn leading to biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, shifting migratory patterns and other  challenges that directly impact the long-term viability of coastal fisheries. The pressure has only 

increased with the global COVID-19 pandemic. With supply chains severed, local fishers became  the backstop to food security and jobs.  


Right now, governments, NGOs and foundations are planning a “green recovery” of sustainable  jobs to replace those lost to the pandemic. Ocean advocates are also pushing for a “blue  recovery” that restores ocean health. The Coastal 500 will help ensure that small-scale fisheries  and the network of microenterprises they support are fully recognized as the foundation of the  rural economy, and that a sustained recovery will be built through thriving rural communities  that balance production with environmental protection. 

Who is supporting the Coastal 500?  

Rare is the main convenor and secretariat of the Coastal 500. Rare is an international NGO and the global leader in driving social change  to help people and nature thrive. With a people-centered approach, rooted in behavioral  science and design thinking, Rare partners with local leaders and their communities to identify  and break down barriers to adopting sustainable environmental practices, and make change  easier to adopt.


Rare’s Fish Forever program is a community-led solution to revitalizing coastal marine habitats,  such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, preventing coastal overfishing and securing the  livelihoods of small-scale fishers, their households and their communities. Fish Forever has  engaged over 1,000 communities in 8 countries, and has helped, or is in the process of helping  place nearly 4 million hectares of coastal ocean water under sustainable management. 


Rare is a partner in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative to protect and restore  the world’s ocean by promoting ocean conservation, protecting resilient coral reef habitats, and  reducing the practice of harmful and illegal overfishing. Bloomberg Philanthropies is also a  leader in championing mayors and local leaders on the front lines of challenges through  initiatives like C40 and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.  


Why now? 

The pressures of COVID and climate change demand immediate action. But global  conversations about ocean conservation are also reaching a critical juncture. The United  Nations has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture  (IYAFA), and “aims to focus world attention on the role that small-scale fisheries, fish farmers  and fish workers play in food security and nutrition, poverty eradication and sustainable natural  resource use - thereby increasing global understanding and action to support them.” 


The work of the Coastal 500 also aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG  1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 14 (Life Below Water).

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