The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a network including 45 countries who represent over 75% of the world’s coral reefs, has launched the Coral Reef Breakthrough initiative.
Launched in partnership with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) and the High-Level Climate Champions (HLCC), the Coral Reef Breakthrough aims to secure the future of at least 125,000 square kilometers (48,263 square miles) of shallow-water tropical coral reefs with investments of at least US$12 billion/~€11.4 billion to support the resilience of more than half a billion people globally by 2030.
In addition to broad-based climate action, the new initiative will be achieved through:
- Stop drivers of loss: Mitigate local drivers of loss including land-based sources of pollution, destructive coastal development, and overfishing.
- Double the area of coral reefs under effective protection: Bolster resilience-based coral reef conservation efforts by aligning with and transcending global coastal protection targets including 30by30.
- Accelerate Restoration: Assist the development and implementation of innovative solutions at scale and climate smart designs that support coral adaptation to impact 30% of degraded reefs by 2030.
- Secure investments of at least US$12 billion by 2030 from public and private sources to conserve and restore these crucial ecosystems.
The initiative was launched through the ICRI 37th General Meeting and developed with support from the Swedish government and the Principality of Monaco.
Coral reefs exist in more than 100 countries and territories, and support at least 25% of marine species; they are integral to sustaining Earth’s vast and interconnected web of marine biodiversity and provide ecosystem services valued up to $9.9 trillion/~€9.4 trillion annually.
More than 1 billion people, including vulnerable coastal communities, whose daily lives are inextricably linked with life below water, depend on healthy coral reefs. They’re essential to the security, resilience and climate adaptation of many of the most climate-vulnerable nations on Earth, yet the functional existence of these critical ecosystems is at stake due to the climate crisis and other anthropogenic stressors. The window for protecting these ecosystems is closing rapidly.
Setting the first global targets for coral reefs, the initiative will be realized by catalyzing public and private financial flows and supporting sustainable conservation investments. These will activate and enhance proven solutions and mobilize aligned actions to achieve the Sharm-El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda’s Ocean and Coastal Impact System targets and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Commenting on the initiative, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 Razan Al Mubarak said:
“Coral reefs are more than just beautiful; they are our lifelines. They are essential to the security and resilience of many nations, especially those in low-lying island states. These are nations staring down the barrel of climate change. The Coral Reef Breakthrough is an initiative for the world, for the hundreds of millions who depend on these coastal communities.”
Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, added:
“No healthy Ocean without healthy coral reefs, and the latter are under such threat that their very existence is at stake. Meeting the targets of the Coral Breakthrough will be vital to the safeguarding of coral. Thus, at this testing time for our place on Planet Earth, we are calling on public and private sector leaders to take action to achieve the Coral Breakthrough’s targets and secure the longevity of coral reefs. Support for Coral Reef Breakthrough is support for the well-being of generations to come.”
For more info, go to coralbreakthrough.org.