Coastal communities and the sustainable blue economy

Humanity’s demands on our ocean are expanding and accelerating, with climate change, overexploitation and pollution exerting significant pressures on marine ecosystems and species.

Considerable economic gains are being made by large-scale business sectors from the ocean economy, and there is very little evidence that these benefits ‘trickle down’ to Indigenous Peoples and local communities without explicit efforts to develop a more inclusive and equitable agenda. Coastal communities play a major role in the transition to a sustainable blue economy. They act as stewards of many coastal ecosystems and are instrumental in delivering key regional, national and global commitments to biodiversity conservation and climate action. They are also significant stakeholders of and contributors to the ocean economy.

What we are doing

The Coastal Communities Initiative is scaling gender-inclusive solutions.
© Claudia Amico WWF Mediterranean
New e-learning course on Community Conservation Enterprises (CCEs)

CCEs, such as small-scale fisheries and aquaculture cooperatives, are small, locally-run businesses providing livelihoods that also support the protection of habitats and biodiversity. However, CCEs often face significant obstacles in trying to make a sustainable living. This course will help address some of the most common challenges.

It is critical that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are empowered and enabled to develop in ways that secure their long-term needs without negatively affecting the natural ecosystems on which they depend.

Alongside addressing key aspects of the enabling environment, including equitable tenure, the creation of pipelines of investible and scalable community-based sustainable blue economy projects and enterprises will be a critical requirement to attract finance and secure this transition.

To accelerate the replication and adaptation of successful field-tested, gender-inclusive solutions, we promote the use of mapping tools and stakeholder engagement. Connecting fisherwomen and fishworkers to local and regional learning hubs and networks empowers them to take up the best solutions and share their collective experiences to drive community resilience in the face of climate change.

Coastal Communities Initiative partners are supporting financial inclusion workshops, income diversification and development of community enterprises in 23 countries, as well as the establishment of 800 community banks in four countries – including more than 330 in Tanzania alone.

Bankable project portfolio

Please visit our bankable project portfolio to explore projects supporting an inclusive sustainable blue economy by empowering coastal community enterprise development and unlocking finance at scale.

Watch: Find out more about how investing in coastal communities benefits both people and nature.

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