Seven-tenths of the planet’s surface is covered by ocean. Yet the forces of change that increasingly threaten the quality and function of marine ecosystems all originate on the three tenths that this land.

A global set of coastal stewardship incubator projects, operating as nested efforts of different sizes culminating at the large marine ecosystem scale, could be the catalyst for the changes in societal values and behavior that are the precondition to reversing current negative trends.

This document proposes the structure for such an approach, describes the benefits it would produce and explains why this effort will not be realized without an independently funded and administered initiative. Our approach avoids the weakness in many coastal management programs that have emerged since the Rio Conference in 1992 – the absence of common frameworks for assessing progress and disseminating innovations, the absence of funding to reward and sustain sound programs in low-income nations and the absence of global mechanisms to encourage collaborative learning.

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