Fifteenth Anniversary of Equator Initiative celebrates local action on marine and coastal challenges

Jun 8, 2017

Equator Prize 2015 Award Ceremony (Photo: Chris Rainier)

New York, 8 June - The UN Development Programme (UNDP), Equator Initiative and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme launched a new report - “Making Waves: Community Solutions, Sustainable Oceans,” coinciding with the 15th Anniversary of the Equator Initiative and the World Oceans Day, as part of the historic Ocean Conference (5-9 June) to renew momentum towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, ‘Life Below Water’.

The report was launched at the Local-National Leaders Dialogue on Local Communities and Sustainable Oceans— a high level event attended by the governments of Belize, Cabo Verde, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Spain, and Sweden to showcase inspiring initiatives of community-driven solutions, to global marine and coastal challenges. A new web portal was also launched on the occasion, which houses over 500 nature solutions by communities for their development.

The new report presents 15 stories to reflect that indigenous peoples and local communities working in coastal and marine ecosystems are some of the most effective stewards of the planet’s marine ecosystems. Their actions demonstrate that local action on SDG14 have widespread impact, delivering a suite of benefits across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Launching the report, Magdy Martinez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support said, “The pivotal role of local communities in finding innovative solutions to restore, protect and sustainably manage coasts and oceans, while simultaneously achieving their own sustainable development goals is an essential contribution to international efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The Equator Initiative and the GEF Small Grants Programme advance and support a diversity of initiatives undertaken by indigenous peoples and local communities that have delivered measurable impacts cutting across SDG14 and the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at local, national, regional and global scales.

“Communities are at the very forefront of showing us the way forward on sustainable oceans. By shining a spotlight on effective and innovative community solutions through the UNDP-led Equator Initiative, and by fostering innovation through the UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Programme, we are helping to accelerate progress on sustainable oceans, and helping to achieve the world we all want,” commented Nik Sekhran, Director, Sustainable Development, UNDP and Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programmes, Global Environment Facility in a joint statement.

This year, the Equator Initiative will recognize a new group of Equator Prize winners who pioneer local nature-based solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The winners will be recognized at the Equator Prize 2017 Award Ceremony, which will take place in September, during the United Nations Global Goals week.

Watch the trailer for the Equator Prize 2017 for more information:

Join the Ocean Action Hub for more information:

Other Quotes

  • Leonardo Rosario, Executive Director, Trowel Development Foundation, Equator Prize Winner 2010 – “The struggle of poor and vulnerable communities against poverty, biodiversity depletion, environmental degradation, climate change devastation and poor governance may be slow and protracted, but their local solutions and innovations guarantee the future of the present and the next generation.”
  • H.E. Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji & Minister for i-Taukei Affairs, Sugar Industry and Foreign Affairs— “Fiji is a leader in addressing the unique marine and coastal challenges that beset other Small Island Developing States, and we have shown that through our community-based efforts, we can strengthen national resilience, and achieve our own Sustainable Development Goals. We are proud to see that the efforts of the first locally managed marine area in Verata, Fiji – one of 15 community initiatives profiled in this publication –is a model of sustainable development which has been widely replicated not only locally and within the Pacific region, but around the world.”
  • Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Norway— “The sustainable use and conservation of the world’s marine ecosystems can directly contribute to many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Local communities and indigenous peoples all over the world are taking action, demonstrating how sustainably managing fisheries and their habitats can provide lasting, durable sustainable development. We can all learn from this.”
  • Carin Jämtin, Director-General, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – “Unsustainable fishing practices, exploitation of marine resources, and plastic pollution are some of the most serious environmental challenges of our time. By taking marine action, local communities are showing that a resilient, sustainable world is possible, and an important role for us within the development community is to support and strengthen these initiatives.”
  • Dr. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General Environment and Infrastructure German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) — “The potential to learn from and scale up community-based initiatives in sustainable fisheries, marine protection and coastal restoration is essential if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Germany recognizes the increased need for learning and knowledge sharing, and sees community-based initiatives as one pathway to accelerating progress on the 2030 Global Agenda.”
Contact information

Jamison Ervin, Manager, Global Programme on Nature for Development, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support | Email:

Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email: | Tel: +1 212 906 5043


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