A new, first of its kind fund to protect coral reefs was officially launched on September 16 on the sidelines of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, with a coalition of partners convening to mobilise resources to make coral reefs more resilient. The Global Fund for Coral Reefs is seeking to invest $500 million in coral reef conservation over the next 10 years.

The Fund, a finance instrument that blends private and public funding, will also support businesses and finance mechanisms that improve the health and sustainability of coral reefs and associated ecosystems while empowering local communities and enterprises.

Found in over 100 countries and territories globally, coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life—up to one million species. They also provide at least half a billion people with jobs and food while protecting coastlines from storms and flooding. Despite their immense value and immense vulnerability, the protection of coral reefs has been underfunded on a global scale.

Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “We have great opportunities for global collaboration on coral reef protection, management and restoration coming up with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. We urge the global community to come together to capitalize this critical Fund in order to change the trajectory for coral reefs and save this precious ecosystem.”

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs has a dual focus: to facilitate the uptake of innovative financing mechanisms, including private market-based investments focused on coral reef conservation and restoration. Two, to unlock financing for coral reef-related climate adaptation through the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund, and multilateral development banks.

The multi-party initiative to mobilise resources for the Fund includes public, philanthropic, and private actors, including: the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, putting a spotlight on unique partnerships towards coral protection and on ‘Life Below Water’. The two-hour high-level event will kickstart fundraising efforts for the global fund and will showcase the innovative finance instrument geared at mobilizing resources for the resilience of corals, one of Earth’s richest sources of biodiversity and the communities that rely on them.

At the high-level meeting, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation—one of the co-founders of the Fund—made a presentation of Monaco’s commitment to safeguarding oceans and the origin of the Fund concept at the Ocean week workshop in 2018.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “Coral reefs are marine ecosystems that are essential for the conservation of marine biodiversity. They are severely affected by climate change, and many of them are in danger of eventually disappearing. To address this situation, my Foundation and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation have taken the initiative to support the setting up of an international financial mechanism to marshal private and multilateral resources that will help to improve scientific knowledge and promote practical solutions to save these reefs. I urge anybody who wants to protect biodiversity to join our initiative.”

ORIGINAL SOURCE: UN Environment Programme