Coral reefs are considered to be one of the most diverse and productive marine ecosystems, providing essential ecosystem services such as coastal protection, food, income, biodiversity and cultural significance. They are under increasing pressure from global warming, ocean acidification and destructive fishing practices, and the signs of strain are visible worldwide.
UNEP-WCMC is currently working on several global coral reef projects with UN Environment Coral Reef Unit and a number of other project partners to address this problem. The results of these projects will be presented at the International Coral Reef Initiative 32nd General Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya and supports the efforts of the 2018 International Year of the Reef.
The availability of funding and the priorities of donors have a huge influence on conservation. We identified and mapped current international donor funding for the sustainable management of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds, and identified gaps that may be addressed through future interventions, including alignment with global and regional policy commitments. With this information we have created an interactive website and a report.
We are providing a step-change in our understanding of how citizen behaviour change can be influenced to support conservation and sustainable use of coral ecosystems.
We convened a diverse range of experts, including coral reef ecologists, social psychologists and marketing consultants, to identify the multitude of ways in which the behaviour of tourists affects coral reef ecosystems. These are known as behaviour-impact pathways. During this process we also identified intervention points for effective behaviour change.
We turned our findings into a guide which will be used to inform campaigns to catalyse change on an individual basis. This will result in a cumulative effect that relieves some of the pressure of citizen activities, and support the conservation and sustainable use of coral reef ecosystems.
We conducted a mid-term review of the Global Coral Reef Partnership project. We reflected on the progress of the partnership, recommended priority actions for the final stages of this 4 year project, and presented opportunities for the further development of the project.
Coral reefs provide a multitude of ecosystem services, many of which underpin Sustainable Development Goals, beyond Goal 14 – Life below water.
In partnership with UN Environment, we held a workshop to identify interactions between coral reefs and Sustainable Development Goals. Coral reef experts and practioners discussed how the management of coral reefs can support a whole range of Sustainable Development Goals. The focus was on the ecosystem services that corals provide – we identified pathways through which coral reefs are connected to Sustainable Development Goals.
We produced a series of case studies that demonstrate how action plans or management strategies to protect coral reefs can meet a multitude of other international goals and targets.
In order to communicate the economic value of coral reef ecosystems, we are working with a number of partners on a series of factsheets, showcasing key economic facts that are regionally specific.
We are growing our expertise in coral reefs through our work with the International Coral Reef Initiative, UN Environment Coral Reef Unit and associated partners. We can apply our existing knowledge, experience and expertise to coral reef conservation to support countries and Secretariats to conserve and manage reefs sustainably.
We have worked with a range of partners and funders on these projects:
Funding coral reef conservtion: UN Environment, International Coral Reef Initiative, International Year of the Reef 2018, French Government
Applying social science to reef conservation: UN Environment, Reef-World Foundation, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, International Coral Reef Initiative, International Year of the Reef 2018
Reviewing the Global Coral Reef Partnership: UN Environment, Global Coral Reef Partnership
Coral reefs and the Sustainable Development Goals: UN Environment, International Coral Reef Initiative, International Year of the Reef 2018
Producing economic factsheets: GRID Arendal, Blue Finance, International Coral Reef Initiative, International Year of the Reef 2018, Fondation pour la recherche sur la biodiversité, Swedish Ministry of the Environment and the Scientific Centre of Monaco