Rare Joins the Island-Ocean Connection Challenge

Rare will support the effort to restore island-ocean ecosystems by engaging the Coastal 500 network of local leaders in safeguarding biodiversity

(Arlington, VA, USA) Today, international conservation organization Rare announced it has joined the Island-Ocean Connection Challenge (IOCC), a global effort to restore at least 40 globally significant island-ocean ecosystems from ridge to reef by 2030 to benefit people, wildlife, and our planet. In joining the IOCC, Rare is pledging to safeguard biodiversity by raising awareness across the Coastal 500 global network of mayors and local government leaders representing coastal communities. Rare will also support the Challenge with research and insights from its Center for Behavior & the Environment to ensure culturally sensitive approach to promoting effective biosecurity on islands. Partners and supporters of the IOCC include leading foundations, conservation organizations, international partnerships, and national governments.

“Partnerships are key to scaling our success in driving people-centered, community-led conservation of our oceans,” said Rocky Sanchez Tirona, Managing Director of Rare’s Fish Forever program to revitalize coastal fisheries. “The Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is aligned with our mission to protect biodiversity, while also meeting the needs of coastal communities. By engaging the local leaders of the Coastal 500 network, we hope to extend the initiative’s impact. And by bringing to bear the behavioral research and insights from Rare’s BE.Center, we hope to ensure that impact lasts.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Rare as a key partner in the Island-Ocean Connection Challenge,” said Dr Penny Becker, Vice-President of Conservation at Island Conservation, a cofounder of the IOCC. “Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to employ collective action and research-based insights to authentically engage communities and achieve a lasting impact in addressing biodiversity loss, ocean degradation, and climate change.”

The IOCC was launched in 2022 by Island Conservation, Re:wild, and Scripps Institute of Oceanography to combat climate change, ocean degradation, invasive species, and biodiversity loss by restoring and rewilding islands. The Challenge seeks to support Island communities, which are disproportionately impacted by these crises, both ecologically and economically, as well as protect biodiversity, and build climate resilience of at-risk islands.

Through the IOCC, partners aim to mainstream and scale island restoration and rewilding efforts through partnerships with land managers and communities to address their most urgent needs.

Rare’s Fish Forever program has inspired and enabled coastal communities to revitalize and sustainably manage coastal ocean waters and habitats. With a people-centered approach rooted in the science of human behavior, Fish Forever mobilizes fishers, fish-related enterprises, local leaders, and others to establish community-led management of coastal fisheries.

Launched in 2021, the Coastal 500 network includes mayors and local leaders representing communities in eight coastal nations: Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Micronesia, Mozambique, Palau, and the Philippines. In 2023, the Coastal 500 was named a finalist for the EarthShot Prize awarded by His Royal Highness Prince William.

Media Inquiries: 

Zach Lowe, Rare (zlowe@rare.org)
Sally Esposito, Island Conservation (sally.esposito@islandconservation.org)


About the Island Ocean Connection Challenge (IOCC)

The Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is a global initiative dedicated to the holistic restoration of at least 40 globally significant island ecosystems, from ridge-to-reef. By partnering with communities, conservation organizations, funders, and researchers, the IOCC aims to scale island restoration and rewilding efforts. Through collaboration, we strive to benefit biodiversity, climate resilience, and the well-being of island communities. To learn more about the IOCC and our mission, please visit www.jointheiocc.org. 

Featured Image: Coastal 500 members in Siargao, the Philippines take the Coastal 500 pledge. (From left to right) Vice Mayor Dodong Dolar of Santa Monica, Mayor Alfredo Coro Jr of Del Carmen, Mayor Gina Menil of San Benito, Mayor Angie Arcena of Burgos