Newswise — COSTA RICA (June 8, 2024)—Ahead of the United Nations Ocean Conference pre-meeting in Costa Rica, women leaders from 11 Latin America and Caribbean countries released with major recommendations for better mainstreaming women’s priorities for coastal marine conservation and sustainable development into national policy dialogue. Among other requests, the Women Ocean Guardians called for concrete actions by governments to eliminate gender-based violence, recognize the benefits and burdens of caregiving, enhance fairness of labor practices, guarantee health care, and foster leadership opportunities for women.  

In support of advancing this dialogue, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), together with the governments of Costa Rica and France, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), MarFund, Movilizatorio and Diwo Ambiental, facilitated a discussion between Women Ocean Guardians, senior government officials and leaders from multilateral organizations.  

Pamela Castillo, Director of WCS’s 30x30 program and one of the panel moderators, said, “As the world races to achieve targets laid out in the Global Biodiversity Framework and the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030, it is critically important to make sure that no one gets left behind. This dialogue was an important milestone that gave opportunity for women who use and manage coastal seas as fishers, managers and rangers to be heard in order to ensure that delivery of global biodiversity conservation and sustainable development goals is inclusive, equitable and durable.”

Women are too often left out of major decision-making processes for coastal and ocean management, while their contributions as ocean stewards and providers of local livelihoods are poorly recognized. 

“We live off the sea, in the middle of the wetlands, which have their natural cycle with the sea and the rain. We are completely amphibians,” shared Dorcas Judith Bautista Sogamoso, Director of the Sinumar Foundation of San Bernardo del Viento, Colombia. Presenting the achievements in her fishing community, she affirmed that in the face of environmental threats, women have been standing up and taking action by promoting ecological restoration and sustainable use of natural resources. “It is a new vision of how we relate to nature.” 

The dialogue, part of the main program for the UN Ocean Conference ” pre-meeting held between June 7 and 8 in San Jose, Costa Rica, sets the stage to strongly feature gender equity and social inclusion on the program of the third UN Ocean Conference, to be held in Nice, France, in June 2025.  

“WCS applauds the Women Ocean Guardians for their courage to challenge the status quo of developing and managing our global seas,” said Dr. Stacy Jupiter, Executive Director for Marine Conservation at WCS. “We recognize that, particularly for smallholder production sectors, women-led initiatives and associations typically produce outsized results in terms of equity and inclusion, as well as environmental performance. For that reason, WCS has put gender equity at the core of WCS’s community fisheries and marine conservation strategies.” 


Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

WCS combines the power of its zoos and an aquarium in New York City and a Global Conservation Program in more than 50 countries to achieve its mission to save wildlife and wild places. WCS runs the world’s largest conservation field program, protecting more than 50 percent of Earth’s known biodiversity; in partnership with governments, Indigenous People, Local Communities, and the private sector. It’s four zoos and aquarium (the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium) welcome more than 3.5 million visitors each year, inspiring generations to care for nature. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: +1 (347) 840-1242..