On the occasion of the « Our Ocean » Conference held in Bali on October 29 and 30 2018, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and UN Environment organized a high-level side-event on “The Future of Coral Reefs in a Sustainable Blue Economy” with the participation of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme. The event was an opportunity to discuss the urgent action and new financing required to save the world’s coral reefs. As reminded many times during the event, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the need for urgent action to save coral reefs from possible extinction by mid-century. Healthy coral reefs directly contribute to achieving many Sustainable Development Goals and more generally to a sustainable blue economy. But with current global coral reef decline due to rising ocean temperature, overfishing, and pollution from land, we risk losing an irreplaceable source of livelihoods, food and economic opportunity.
The event also discussed how new coral reef finance can be leveraged, and the important role of the private sector in this was stressed many times. The need for new funding and investment in protecting coral reefs has been widely recognized. In light of this, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Vulcan Inc. commit to investing each $250,000 for the development of a Global Fund for Coral Reefs focusing on coral reef conservation, restoration and adaptation to climate change.
Mr. Justin Mundy presented briefly the finding of a new report highlighting that investing in coral reefs to prevent their current rate of decline could net $37b for Indonesia or $45b for Mesoamerican Reef by 2030. Private sector investment is urgently needed to close the funding gaps in one of the world’s vital ecosystems.
President Tommy Remengesau from Palau presented several concrete and local action to protect coral reefs such as the green fees for tourists, the installation of mooring buoys on popular dive sites or the Palau Pledge (a government campaign encouraging tourists to protect the island; immigration will only issue entry visas to tourists who sign a moving eco-pledge).
Finally, the event provided an opportunity for Mr. Germain, President of the government of New-Caledonia to sign the Coral Reef Life declaration, launched by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, a year ago at the 4thOur Ocean Conference. The Declaration seeks to leverage action, greater awareness, sustainable business models and finance for reef protection and management. As of today, it has been signed by 15 countries covering 54% of the worlds coral reef area.