NEW YORK CITY—Prince William and The Earthshot Prize announced on September 19 the Coastal 500—including the Philippines—as one of the 15 finalists for the 2023 prize.
Coastal 500 is a global network of mayors and local leaders committed to healthy, prosperous and thriving coastal communities.
Founded by Prince William in 2020, the Earthshot Prize is a prestigious global environmental award that celebrates and champions innovators focused on solving our most pressing global climate challenges.
The Coastal 500, which Rare helped launch 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 14 other Earthshot Finalists, were chosen from more than 1,100 nominees.
Each of the finalists will receive one of five £1 million (approximately P70.17 million) prizes awarded at the third-annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore .
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.
In addition to their eligibility for the £1 million prize, all finalists will receive mentorship, resources and technical support from The Earthshot Prize Fellowship Program, a year-long program for each cohort of 15 finalists to accelerate the growth of their groundbreaking solutions.
The support includes access to the prize’s robust network of influential businesses, investors, and climate experts, including The Earthshot Prize’s Global Alliance of Partners, which is comprised of some of the world’s largest businesses, donors, investors and environmental organizations committed to climate action.
The five winners of this year’s prize will be selected by Prince William and Earthshot Prize Council. The council is chaired by The Earthshot Prize Board of Trustees Chairman Christiana Figueres DBE, architect of the Paris Agreement.
Besides Prince William, The Earthshot Prize Council members include Queen Rania Al Abdullah, actress Cate Blanchett, Sir David Attenborough, Ernest Gibson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Indra Nooyi, Jack Ma, Luisa Neubauer, Naoko Yamazaki, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealaformer basketball player and Yao Ming.
The Coastal 500 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 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, Rare said.
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, Rare added.
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,” Tirona added.
For his part, Rare CEO Brett Jenks said: “The concept of the Coastal 500 is rooted in Rare’s belief that locally-led solutions achieve the greatest impact for people and nature.”
“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,” Jenks pointed out.
The primary feature of Coastal 500 is the Participant Pledge. Members 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; and 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.
Fish Forever works to empower coastal communities to sustainably manage coastal resources and prevent overfishing. It has engaged over 1,700 communities across eight countries and is helping place over 5.5 million hectares of ocean water under sustainable management.
Rare and the Coastal 500 get support from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Bloomberg Ocean Initiative that fight climate change and protect the environment.