The world celebrates the World Oceans Day to bring awareness about the key role of oceans in everyday life and inform the public about the impact of human actions on the ocean. In recognition of the role local communities play in the protection and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems, local leaders and the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) grantees Fatou Janha Mboob from Gambia and Budi Setiawan from Indonesia were invited to speak at the High-Level event on the World Oceans Day organized by the United Nations.
Introduced by actor Diego Luna, Fatou spoke about the importance of empowering women and grassroot organizations, and reminded the audience of the importance of how small grants can support organizations like hers to bring about the needed environmental change from the ground up. With SGP support, Try Oysters received training on mangrove conservation, aquaculture and sustainable oyster harvesting and, as a result, was able to restore the Tanbi Wetlands and win exclusive fishing rights from the national government in the 6,300-hectare Tanbi Special Management Area.
Similarly, Budi Setiawan from Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung (Belitung Coastal Community Group) in Indonesia, presented the work of his organization in developing an island conservation model that conserves the ecosystems of his native Belitung island. With the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme, his organization was able to create a sustainable management plan for a local conservation area, including conservation of sea turtles, mangroves, tarsius population, and coral ecosystem. The results of this project was instrumental for the designation of Tanjung Binga on Belitung Island as a Coastal and Small Islands Conservation Zone. These initiatives have been replicated in other islands with the support of the local and national government. In his personal story, Budi emphasized the importance of environmental education, creation of alternative livelihoods and working with youth.
Fatou and Budi’s stories are featured in the new publication by the SGP and the Equator Initiative, which was launched during the UN Oceans Conference this week (June 5-9) on implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below Water. The publication titled “Making Waves”features the innovative work of communities around the world in protecting coastal and marine ecosystems. It includes 15 case studies of communities that have won the Equator Award, eight of which are also grantees of the SGP.
At the publication launch, Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager of the GEF Small Grants Programme said “local communities are indeed “Making Waves” as they are replicating and scaling up successful and innovative solutions, and ensure that the ship is sailing to the right direction together and reach the intended goals: the Sustainable Development Goals 14 and other related Goals.”
This event, is part of a series of events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Small Grants Programme.